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Detroit spends more to issue parking fines than it collects

detroit-19july2013

The Detroit skyline is seen looking south down Woodward Avenue on Friday.Reuters

Restructuring consultants have recommended that Detroit increase its parking fines and crack down harder on people who don't pay to boost revenue for the bankrupt city, which currently pays $32 to issue and process a $30 parking violation.

The revenue-generating proposal would change the current parking fines of $20, $30 and $100 per ticket to a two-tiered structure of $45 and $150, The Detroit News reported.

The recommendations come as state-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr awaits an analysis of the city's parking assets and contemplates spinning off the parking department.

As part of the issue, Orr spokesman Bill Nowling says about half of Detroit's roughly 3,400 parking meters don't operate properly at any given time.

"It's another example of the old, antiquated system and processes the city has that creates impediments for anyone trying to do their job," Nowling said. 

Detroit Chief Operating Officer Gary Brown is advocating for the changes, which he says would bring in an additional $6 million per year. 

"That's real money," Brown said. "If the asset is truly an asset and making money, no one is going to want to do anything with it."

According to Brown, 70 percent of the fines are to non-Detroit residents. He said the city also expects to offer a one-time amnesty program in conjunction with any increase, The Detroit News reported.  

At-large City Council member Saunteel Jenkins said she supports an increase, telling the newspaper, “especially since it’s costing the city more to write and process tickets than the actual parking fines themselves.” 

Detroit's Parking Violations Bureau, which enforces on-street parking ordinances and issues and processes parking tickets, is expected to generate revenue $11.4 million in revenue for the current fiscal year, resulting in a $3.6 million surplus for the city’s general fund. 

The most expensive fine in the country for expired parking meters in 2013 was $72 in downtown San Francisco. Detroit was among the lowest at $20, The Detroit News reported, citing a survey by SFPark.org.  

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Click here for more from The Detroit News.