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Rapid City writes off $125K in parking tickets

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news Mitchell, 57301

Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

RAPID CITY (AP) — Parking violators in Rapid City are getting a break as officials have moved to write off about $125,000 worth of parking citations issued between 2008 and 2010.

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Officials have decided to clear the city's books of nearly 12,000 tickets following the Rapid City Council's recent decision to deem the violations — mostly $5 or $10 tickets — uncollectable, the Rapid City Journal reported Sunday.

"If we can't collect them, if they're this old, then we should not have them on our books," said Pauline Sumption, the city's finance officer. "It's standard business practice for anybody who bills for services."

Sumption said the city should have been purging its books of unpaid tickets on a yearly basis, but the last time that happened was 2012. Sumption says about 9,800 tickets worth nearly $118,000 were written off at that time.

The newspaper reports that 3,484 tickets remained unpaid from 2008, 3,992 from 2009 and 4,470 from 2010. The city doesn't notify violators of outstanding tickets.

Sumption said new software that is expected to be fully installed by the fall of 2015 will include a system to notify violators of old tickets and offer the option to pay online.

Records from the Finance Department show the city collected about $287,000 in parking fines last year, and approximately $41,000 in fees related to putting boots on vehicles. The funds go toward the salaries of parking enforcement staff, general supplies and the $2 million bond of the city's downtown parking ramp.

Four full-time staffers make up the city's parking enforcement division. Police Sgt. Scott Sitts said about 100 to 150 tickets are issued in days when all four staffers are working.

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