The following is an editorial from WBRC FOX6 News General Manager Collin Gaston, which first aired on Friday, May 5:
I was blown away after our WBRC FOX6 Investigator report that highlighted the more than $2.34 million in unpaid parking tickets owed to the City of Birmingham. That staggering amount is the result of, get this, some 130,181 unpaid parking tickets! The biggest parking ticket offenders each have more than 100 outstanding parking tickets, with one person racking up 271 unpaid parking tickets with an amount owed, just by themselves, of more than $4,000.
The problem currently is the parking tickets don’t have any consequences. They are not treated as criminal offences and balances due are not passed on to collections agencies, affecting people’s credit reports.
There are two House Bills (House Bill 213 and House Bill 280) afoot that if passed will add “teeth” to the penalties against those that have decided that paying a parking ticket is beneath them. These bills, which I support, would allow a city to boot a car if parked on a city street after three unpaid parking tickets. If tickets remain unpaid, cities could tow booted cars to an impound lot. After 21 days, cars could be auctioned.
Up until now, the City of Birmingham left it up to you to do the right thing, and that hasn’t really worked out. Going forward, if these bills are passed, you will get not so subtle encouragement in the form of a boot, an impound or your car being auctioned off.
Bottom line, if you are one of the people accounting for the 130,000+ in unpaid parking tickets, do the right thing – stop parking illegally. If you don’t, then be responsible and pay your fines.
If you would like to respond to this editorial, email firstname.lastname@example.org, write to:
P.O. Box 6
Birmingham, Alabama 35201
Or call (205) 583-4328.
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