Grand Rapids looking to collect millions in unpaid parking tickets

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — If you get a bill from the city of Grand Rapids for an old parking ticket in the mail, don’t throw it away — it’s not a scam.

After three months of not charging for parking during the pandemic, the city has hired a company to start collecting on old fines. The city says there are close to 40,000 unpaid tickets that total $2.4 million in fines.

If you have an outstanding ticket, you may have already received a bill. If not, you could be seeing one soon. The city has sent out the first 4,000 bills and will continue to roll out more in small increments for the next six to eight months.

The tickets are up to five years old, which caused some drivers to call the city, asking if the bill was legitimate.

“These are very real,” Grand Rapids City Treasurer John Globensky confirmed.

Globensky says the reason for the backlog is because the previous collections company wasn’t bringing in the money. Now, EOS USA has the contract. It’s the same company that collects for Kent County courts. EOS takes 20% of the money collected, compared to 25% that the previous company took.

The city says it was averaging about $122,000 per month in paid parking fines. In the first month with EOS USA, the city brought in $280,000.

“Really, in the first full month, that’s another $160,000 that’s coming into the city… It is working,” Globensky said.

The money goes to the city’s general fund, which covers covers a number of operating costs.

The city says it is willing to work with drivers for payment and in some cases remove late fees. You can pay your parking ticket on the city’s website.

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