The SPD’s Parking Enforcement division won’t be winning any city-wide popularity contests.

The SPD’s Parking Enforcement division won’t be winning any city-wide popularity contests. But as much as we might loath the cushman-car jockeys, they do provide the city with a small, but much needed, stream of revenue. According to the Seattle Times today, the city took in $18.4 million in parking fines in 2009. Next year’s projections have that number increasing to $21.5 million. So huzzah for the city’s bottom line. Not mentioned in the report however, is the amount parking scofflaws currently owe the city $52 million , according to a February report from KIRO TV. That’s the figure they arrived at after analyzing a decade’s worth of parking data. According to the most recent report (pdf) from the City Auditor’s Office, the non-collection of parking fines is an ongoing problem. Says the 2005 study:Data shows that the City’s overall collection rate for parking citations issued has ranged from 84 percent to 96 percent during the last five years…Seattle’s overall collection rates declined from the mid-90 percent rates achieved during 1999-2002 to mid-80 percent rates in 2003 and 2004.That decrease translated into $1.5 million in lost potential revenue. According to this KING 5 scoop, the city left $5 million in fines on the table just last year.Still, the Auditor’s report said Seattle’s parking scofflaws are more honest and forthcoming than people in other cities when caught: “Data we reviewed on the collection rates for other large municipalities indicates that Seattle’s collection rate compares favorably.”

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