That’s out of a total of $18.4M the City of Sudbury is trying to collect in unpaid finesPeople who live outside Greater Sudbury owe the city almost $5 million in parking and other provincial offences fines, says a report presented to city council Dec. 13.
That’s out of a total of $18.4 million owed to the city in unpaid fines, representing 41,371 cases. Some of the fines date back to 2000, when the municipality took over the provincial offences program. At the time, the outstanding balance was $6 million.
The report outlined strategies the city uses to collect unpaid fines, and included new rules the province has approved to give cities more tools to collect the fine money.
“The challenge for all Ontario municipalities is that one in five POA fines are not paid on time,” the report said. “Overdue fines trigger additional collection actions, such as driver’s licence suspensions, licence plate validation denial, and involvement of collection agencies — these additional collections efforts involve additional administrative costs.”
The city receives most of the money collected, except for certain charges and fees that goes to the province. In recent years, the number of unpaid tickets have been increasing. In 2011, there were 6,779 unpaid fines; in 2015, there were 8,259.
In addition to parking tickets, provincial offences include Highway Traffic Act violations, driving without insurance, Liquor Licence Act offences and other city bylaw breaches.
The amount of the fine also increases the longer it goes unpaid. A $20 parking ticket rises to almost $130 after 120 days and is sent to a collection agency.
In addition to sending someone to collection, last resort options include: court-ordered payment plans; driver’s licence suspension and plate renewal denial; wages can be garnished through small claims court; and, fines can be added to property tax bills.
Under a law passed in June 2015, cities can now work together to collect fines. Greater Sudbury is working on signing agreements with other cities that would see fines added to property tax bills when a resident of Sudbury commits an offence in another city, and vice versa. The goal is to help the city collect some of the $4,949,180 it’s owed from people who don’t live there.