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Illegal Durham Parkers Face the Boot -- and Creditors

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Durham is cracking down on illegal parking -- and those who do not pay up once they are caught.(WRAL-TV5 News)
DURHAM — Hundreds of drivers may get an unwanted letter from theCity of Durham. Tired of unpaid parking tickets, the city is turning to a collection agency -- a move that could affect their credit ratings if they do not pay.

The city has hired a collection agency. Failure to pay outstanding fines could result in a bad credit rating. So far, the agency has helped the city collect about $500,000.

People who park illegally in Durham may also pay with their cars.

"If we come across a vehicle that's in violation, we notify our supervisor and our supervisor will be dispatched to the area," says parking enforcement officer Ed Hunter. "Then, a boot is placed on the vehicle."

Anyone with more than three tickets that are 90 days overdue will get the boot. A list of offenders comes out daily, and the boot does not come off until the fines are paid.

"Having $1.3 million in outstanding parking tickets, we felt that was a pretty big dollar amount," says Navdeep Gill, Durham's finance director. "We felt we needed some level of enforcement beyond what we had. That's why we've gone to the boot."

He says the new policies are the first step in the right direction.

"I think the steps are working, but we still have a lot of work to do," Gill says. "There is still $780,000 that we need to collect."

Before Durham started the new tactics, only about half of all tickets were paid.


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