WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Contact 5 Investigation into unpaid parking tickets is already getting results.
The Contact 5 investigators discovered that cash-strapped cities are losing close to two million dollars in unpaid parking tickets across our area. To watch the original report, click here . But now one of the largest cities could soon start cashing in after we started investigating.
In just the past 3 years, we discovered West Palm Beach has not collected more than $700,000 in unpaid parking fines. The biggest offenders are rental car companies.
Cities rely on them to find out who was behind the wheel at the time the ticket was issued.
The Contact 5 Investigators added it up and rental car companies owe the city close to $90,000.
We made a few calls to the car companies but they wouldn't talk to us on camera. But they did end up talking to city parking officials.
"We're getting those calls because Channel 5 probably called them and let them know they were doing a story on it and I guess these car companies are feeling a little more motivated to cooperate with the city to try to recoup some of those funds," said city spokesperson Elliot Cohen.
Rental companies either pay the fines for the drivers or hand over the information about who rented the vehicle.
"it's less hoops that we have to jump through," said Cohen.
It's money the city could be putting to good use.
"It could be an improvement to infrastructure, it could be an improvement to public safety officers, I mean $90,000 when it comes to a city you've got a lot of options that you can use it for," said Cohen.
They're hoping it's not just a one time thing.
"We encourage more cooperation from the car rental companies and whatever encourages that cooperation, whether it's a call from us or a call from NewsChannel 5, we'll take it," said Cohen.
If you'd like to check out who owes money for unpaid fines in the city and across the area click here.
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