More than $100,000 in unpaid Yakima parking tickets in just two years

More than $100,000 in unpaid Yakima parking tickets in just two years
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Unpaid parking tickets.We learned the city of Yakima was stuck with more than $100,000 worth in two years. That's the tab after the city switched to a new ticketing system last December.

It can turn a good day into a bad one. You leave a restaurant only to find a parking ticket on your car. It's seems to happen to everyone.

"I was like 10 minutes late," said Jason Clark. "And, the guy was on top of it and I got a ticket."

That excuse is nothing new.

"The biggest one I hear is, 'well I was only here for 10 minutes,'" said parking enforcement officer, Andrew Smith.

Smith says that excuse doesn't work anymore. Since last December, parking enforcement started getting proof with pictures. The pictures go directly to City Hall. It's enough evidence for a judge to demand you pay up.

But, is the new procedure really working?

Of the nearly $157,000 owed in parking tickets in the first 10 months of 2011, only 41 percent were paid. In that same time period this year, 46% of parking tickets were paid. Still, that leaves more than $100,000 unpaid in just two years.

We dug deeper and learned the car with the most unpaid parking tickets owes more than $500. But, it's not just for an expired receipt. It's because they parked in a disabled parking spot.

We learned the new camera system enables the city to withhold license renewals for people with unpaid tickets.That is until you pay up.

Yakima is considering doubling free parking to four hours downtown. This would include removing the parking meters from parking lots.