City might write off $242K in unpaid tickets
By Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | January 25,2014
Rutland City Treasurer Wendy Wilton wants the city to write off up to $242,000 in unpaid parking tickets.
“It’s a little bit of an accounting cleanup,” she said. “Nothing sexy. Nothing exciting.” Wilton said under a policy set in 2012, tickets are declared uncollectible after a year. However, rather than being formally written off, they are placed in an “uncollectible contra-asset account.”
Around that time in 2012, Wilton said, the board wrote off $57,000 worth of tickets issued between 2001 and 2004, establishing a policy to write off anything more than seven years old.
The board must take the action, though, and there has not been a write-off since. The city did recently attempt an amnesty under which people could pay off tickets from 2005 through 2008 for 50 cents on the dollar. It wasn’t very successful.
Wilton is now asking the city to again clear the books of tickets at least seven years old — which she said will likely total in the $50,000 range — and consider going beyond that to $242,000 worth of tickets more than a year old. She said further attempts to collect most of these tickets will likely do nothing more than cost the city postage.
“Part of the problem is, when they’re that old — some people move,” she said.
“They could have been out of state, out of town,” Wilton said. “How do we even find them?”
The city budgeted for $45,000 in ticket revenue in the current fiscal year.
“We’re blowing that away,” Wilton said. “It’s looking like we’re going to end up with $60,000 in parking tickets if the trend continues.”
She also said the overwhelming majority of parking tickets are paid. In the past two fiscal years, she said about $110,000 in parking tickets were written and the city collected $102,000 of that.
Wilton said the city has been ticketing less in recent years. Ticket prices were increased in recent years, from $6 to $15, with fines increasing as tickets go unpaid.
Wilton said she also thinks the seven-year policy should be reviewed.
“I wonder if that isn’t a little crazy,” she said. “Seven years is pretty long, even for parking tickets. Given that we collect most of them, we could probably shorten that up to four or five years.”
Wilton said she intends to bring the issue before the Board of Aldermen at its next regular meeting.