WKYT Investigates: Cameras catching parking violators

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Meter readers write dozens of them a day, but how serious is a parking ticket if it's not enforced?

LEXPARK, in charge of all parking enforcement in Lexington, has a hard time getting some people to pay up. WKYT takes a look at why people who've racked up big fines in the past will soon have a much harder time getting away without paying.

LEXPARK workers scan corners and read meters to make sure they're not missing a violation.

"Look for a lot of yellow curbs and things like that out here," notes four-year LEXPARK veteran Russ Music, "none of your tire can be in the yellow. So if your bumper's hanging over you're fine. Half their car is in the yellow."

Music showed us what violations he frequently finds on his route. He says LEXPARK roamers average about 30 tickets, and a few wheel boots, a day.

"If you have three outstanding tickets then you're boot eligible," says Music.

"I think it's all a mindset to people. Either they're gonna pay or they're not," notes LEXPARK General Manager Sherry Aytes.

Parking fines do double after ten days unpaid. Aytes says the higher amount still doesn't prompt everyone to pay up. Aside from sending letters, and giving your information to a collections agency, they can't do much else.

"We're not really heavy-handed on people, but we want to collect the money for the parking authority."

The number of tickets owed could soon drop drastically. LEXPARK is putting cameras in their cars that can scan license plates and find out if you owe.

"Once we have the cameras on this car, it'll notify me automatically as I drive by that car," Music tells us.

If the person registered to the car has more than three tickets unpaid, the car is immediately getting the boot.

"It was a pretty significant investment, but the return on the investment is really high. We'll probably recoup that the first year," says Aytes.

EAN HOLDINGS LLC, also known as Enterprise Car Rentals, is the organization listed with the most unpaid parking violations in Lexington.

They sent us the following statement explaining the misunderstanding, and tell us they are paying all violations -

"Every year, we reach out to local government agencies to remind them about any outstanding tickets – and furthermore, we publicly announce these efforts to make the annual initiative as transparent and high-profile as possible.

In this instance, we mistakenly believed that the majority of violations had been transferred directly to renters – but now that option does not seem to be available. After researching all violations, we have issued two checks covering the full amount due."

The new cameras inside LEXPARK vehicles will be installed some time in the next month. Aytes tells us Municipal Citation Solutions won the bid to bring the system into Lexington. MCS is in other cities in the region, including Louisville, Chattanooga, and Cedar Rapids. While LEXPARK won't share the exact amount spent on the cameras, they do expect to make up the cost difference through use of them.

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