Regina mayor commits to getting answers about half-million in parking fines owed to city

·2 min read
Regina mayor commits to getting answers about half-million in parking fines owed to city
Thirty people owe the City of Regina more than $500,000 combined in unpaid parking tickets.  (Bryan Eneas/CBC - image credit)
Thirty people owe the City of Regina more than $500,000 combined in unpaid parking tickets. (Bryan Eneas/CBC - image credit)

Regina's mayor said she is committed to getting more answers regarding the collection of fines after a CBC News Investigation that found several residents owe the city tens of thousands of dollars in parking tickets.

One person owes the city $68,810 in parking tickets racked up over a four-year span from November 2014 to November 2018.

The debt has been sent to a collection agency, but the money has yet to be collected.

This is one of 30 residents who owe the city more than $10,000 from parking tickets. These 30 people owe the city at least $500,000 combined.

Another resident continues to get tickets despite already owing the city more than $31,000.

Their first ticket was issued to them 15 years ago in February 2006. The fines haven't deterred them from parking illegally. Their most recent ticket was issued in January of this year.

The top outstanding parking fines owed to the City of Regina.
The top outstanding parking fines owed to the City of Regina.(CBC)

The city declined an interview with CBC News, citing COVID-19.

"Collections and court fines are on hold due to the pandemic so we would not go forward with an interview at this time," a spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

But on Thursday, the mayor told CBC's Morning Edition she will follow up on why the debts have yet to be collected.

"That's probably something that should come back before council. Definitely the administration should be following up in terms of what are our options are," Masters said.

WATCH | Provinces fail to collect $1.3B in unpaid fines: CBC News investigation

Collection

The city currently has several ways to collect fines., including liens, warrants of committal, applying boots, or seizing and selling vehicles.

"I'm not sure in terms of the enforcement if we've gone that far," Masters said.

In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for the city said "the most recent strategy has been to focus on collecting outstanding accounts through payment plans and the use of a collection agency without impacting the use of the vehicle."

Harry Kitchen, a professor emeritus from Trent University who studies municipal governance, said the fines should be added onto driver licence and plate renewals like other provinces.

He also suggested people could be named and shamed in the local newspaper, as has been done in the past for property taxes.

"This guy didn't pay the $68,000, so therefor you are paying higher property taxes to cover the lost revenue that he owes that he won't pay," Kitchen said.

"You can't escape paying your property tax each year and get away with it. Why should a guy be able to escape a parking ticket fine and get away with it?"