Parking problems: Wasted money in Detroit

Violators owe Detroit some $82 million in unpaid parking tickets


DETROIT – Like so many other city departments, a new day at City Hall is shedding light on bad business practices that are costing the city money desperately needed for pensioners and improvements.

Putting the spotlight on the city's parking department -- everything from the running of municipal garages to what it costs to go after those outstanding parking tickets.

Drive in, drive out -- pretty basic, except it's not. Like so many other Detroit departments, the technology seems to be stopped around 1980.

"The municipal parking situation in the city is deplorable. It has a lack of controls for cash that goes through it," said City Council President Pro Tem George Cushingberry.

Cushingberry is heading up finance audit appropriations. It's employees who tipped him off to the massive inefficiency going on in the parking division.

How much more should the city be generating off these garages? Experts estimate probably 25 percent more.

Then there's the parking-ticket fiasco. Violators owe Detroit some $82 million in unpaid parking tickets, which Local 4 has totaled up from Freedom of Information Act requests.

So far, the efforts to try to recapture that money aren't doing much of anything but potentially costing the city even more. Preliminary numbers suggest Detroit is actually spending $32 to collect $30 worth of tickets. The whole system needs an overhaul.

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