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Lehigh Valley

Unpaid parking fines in Easton total $750K

Unpaid parking fines in Easton total $750K

EASTON, Pa. - Do you owe money for an unpaid parking ticket in Easton? If so you're not alone!

The city says it's owed $750,000 in outstanding fines. Now officials are looking for a company to help collect all that money.

The city accrued the debt between 2015 and 2016 when making a change to decriminalize parking in Easton.

Mayor Sal Panto says the city wasn't collecting the money, which in other municipalities is done through the court system.

Parking in Easton is a simple task for some, pay the meter and hope you get back to your car before parking enforcement notices your time has expired.

"Quickly after that they're running away," said Easton resident, Roberto Romero. "Or running to get to the parking meter because they know they are going to get a ticket."

For those not able to make it back, it's a ticket on the dash.

As of 2015, it's no longer a criminal offense to get a ticket in Easton, so the city is responsible for collecting fines.

In other municipalities where this is still a criminal offense, the money is collected through the court system.

"During that time, we were not doing the collection we should have been doing," added Panto.

From 2015 to 2016, the outstanding fines owed to the city total $750,000. The city put out a request for proposal to see if a company would be interested in buying the debt.

A move Panto calls uncommon.

"This was just a one-time opportunity to see if we could get some money for the debt we have accrued during that transition period," said Panto.

Panto says this year the collection of fines has not been a problem, other than the visitor from out of state who doesn't pay their bill.

The hope is fewer parking tickets will be issued because people have more ways to feed the meter before time expires.

"We would rather people not get tickets," added Panto. "We would much rather they pay for their parking."

Panto says if the amount of uncollected debt gets too high the city could look at hiring a collection agency to go after people.

He's not sure if that will happen, he says the most important part to him is eliminating the criminal aspect of getting a parking ticket.


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