first_imgBut while Andalon said studies are under way to determine whether more can be recovered, he said collection efforts are hampered by a variety of issues including thousands of unregistered vehicles and hard-to-locate vehicle owners. And DOT General Manager Gloria Jeff defended the department’s record. “These are cumulative figures, and we do an outstanding job of collecting monies owed through parking citations,” Jeff said. “Problems occur that make collections very difficult, and they include some issues that are outside the city.” The exact number of unregistered vehicles in the city is unavailable, but officials have estimated that about 250,000 in Los Angeles County are unregistered. Records show that city traffic officers issued 9.5 million parking tickets valued at $494.9 million from June 2003 to this July. Of that, $330.4 million has been collected. While officials expect to collect an additional $52.8 million, that still leaves a balance of 1.3 million citations worth $111.7 million. The average parking citation costs about $41, but additional tickets and unpaid fines can cause the total to soar. Jeff said the department plans to check whether new technology could improve collections, but Andalon said such efforts won’t solve every problem. “If there’s no registered owner (of a vehicle) … we don’t know who it is and can’t send the notice,” he said. “Or we think you live at a certain address, but then can’t find them. Or you sold the vehicle and the new person hasn’t registered it.” Collection tools include sending scofflaws’ accounts to the state Department of Motor Vehicles, which requires outstanding citations to be paid before it issues or renews registration tags. Offenders also are sent notices on the letterhead of City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, although unpaid tickets aren’t currently referred to the city attorney for prosecution. Parking enforcement officers’ handheld ticket devices also automatically identify when a vehicle has received its fifth outstanding ticket, and officers can then have it impounded. Last fiscal year, the city “booted,” or immobilized, 8,339 vehicles and impounded 6,291. In some cases, officials have gone after violators’ state income tax refunds. Karen Sisson, deputy mayor for finance and performance innovation, said a review of the ticket-collection system is planned. “Any time we can improve collections, it’s a pot of money,” Sisson said. City Administrative Officer Bill Fujioka said his staff will review the collection system to see whether more can be reclaimed. “It’s not one single problem,” Fujioka said. “You have folks with bad addresses. The DMV can’t even find some of these folks. I’m of the opinion we need to `boot’ more of them.” (818) 713-3731160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Los Angeles officials have failed to collect more than $164 million in parking fines and penalties in the past three years, nearly one-third the value of all citations issued, according to city records. The scofflaws include eight motorists who have racked up bills of more than $5,000 each, including one – driving a white GMC van with Arizona plates – who owes $10,031, according to city Department of Transportation records. While some officials defend the city’s collection efforts, others expressed concern about the millions of dollars that could be tapped to aid cash-strapped Los Angeles. “This is revenue that could fund more public services, transportation fixes and cops on the street,” said City Councilwoman Wendy Greuel, who heads the council’s Transportation Committee. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’Greuel said she has formed a task force to review whether city workers should take over collections from Affiliated Computer Services, based in Dallas, Texas. Under a five-year contract awarded in March, ACS is paid on a sliding scale – from $2.03 to $2.78 for each ticket processed and fine collected. It also gets $21 for every hard-to-collect ticket that it is able to process. Last year, ACS collected about 78 percent of outstanding citations and received $6.9 million, according to city records. ACS spokesman Joe Barrett declined to comment, referring calls to the city’s Department of Transportation. Robert Andalon, bureau manager for the DOT’s Office of Regulatory Services, said Los Angeles trails San Francisco’s collection rate by 1 percent or 2 percent, which would equate to an additional $3 million to $6 million over the three years. last_img