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City of Fargo loses more than $700,000 due to unpaid parking citations



Fargo, North Dakota – Fargo residents are failing to pay their parking fines, which is costing the city a lot of money.

City officials claim they owe outstanding citations totaling more than $700,000.

The beautiful structure of the City of Fargo is rising. The cost of the first ticket is $20, the second is $25, and the third and subsequent tickets cost $30.

“The average cost of a parking ticket in downtown Fargo is $25. If you don’t pay it, then it jumps to $70,” City Auditor Steve Sprague says. “For a while we saw an improvement in payment because of that $70 increase. Now, people are back to being kind of relaxed about it again.”

17,389 persons failed to pay their fines in the previous five years, costing the city $722,023.

In the big picture, according to Sprague, it’s manageable—roughly $140,000 annually.

“It would be nice to get it,” he says. “We have a tight budget and any money we could pull in would really help.”

According to Sprague, the money ought to belong to the general fund. It contributes to the funding of the city’s public works, police, fire, libraries, and other services.

Therefore, why can’t the city collect?

“One of the ways we do that is through towing or impounding,” Sprague says. “The problem we have now is that the only people who can tow and impound are the police. Obviously, there’s more important things for them to be doing.”

Authorities are trying to find a mechanism to make people answerable. To increase their freedom to conduct certain towing and impounding, they are attempting to modify the city ordinance.

Even that notion, though, has some drawbacks. It’s difficult to pull automobiles out of the downtown parking because much of it is diagonal.

They’re now thinking about installing boots on autos because of it.

“The car becomes disabled and has to sit there until the fines are all paid until the boot fee is paid,” Sprague says.

Unpaid tickets are given to collections every five years. The majority of them are from the downtown region and the NDSU vicinity.

The only time the city can currently call for a tow is in the event of a snow emergency. During the previous one, they discovered a number of people who had outstanding tickets, and they had to settle those before receiving their car back.

There are 342 unpaid citations in West Fargo’s system, according to municipal officials, costing the city $15,340.