CBS 13 finds Portland is owed more than $3.7 million in unpaid parking tickets

This sign on Forest Street in Portland indicates the limitations on parking in the area. Portland CBS affiliate WGME found that the city is owed more than $3.7 million in unpaid parking tickets.
This sign on Forest Street in Portland indicates the limitations on parking in the area. Portland CBS affiliate WGME found that the city is owed more than $3.7 million in unpaid parking tickets. Buy Photo
Posted May 06, 2014, at 2:16 p.m.
Last modified May 06, 2014, at 2:42 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — The city of Portland is owed more than $3.7 million in unpaid parking tickets, an investigation by Portland television station WGME, CBS 13, found.

The revelation comes as the city is considering a fiscal year 2015 budget that would raise annual property taxes on a $200,000 home by $124, but CBS 13 found that there are limits to what the city can do to force people to pay parking tickets.

As part of its On Your Side investigative series, CBS 13 reviewed city records to determine that since 2008, 171,565 parking tickets worth $3,730,745 have gone unpaid.

The city can tow or place boots on vehicles after one receives three or more parking tickets.

“The boot is a large immobilizing device that goes on the tire of the car and doesn’t come off until the person pays outstanding tickets. So that’s an incentive to getting people to pay,” John Peverada, Portland’s parking manager, told the television station.

For comparison, CBS 13 found that the city successfully collects about $2 million annually in revenue from parking tickets, and it receives payment for about 75 percent of all the tickets handed out.

Portland officials have twice pursued a state measure that would prevent drivers from being able to register vehicles or renew driver’s licenses without paying parking tickets, but they have been unsuccessful.

“The Legislature has been very resistant to do that,” Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap told CBS 13. “There’s a complete divide between how vehicles are operated and where they’re parked.

“You’re talking about a revenue stream the state has no control over, and the state will assume much of the political responsibility for,” he said.

The Bangor Daily News and WGME on Tuesday announced a new media partnership that will include the sharing of news stories and co-hosting of public events, such as political debates.

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