Whitehorse Daily Star

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5,000 ON LIST – Brittany Dixon, the manager of financial services, said there are about 5,000 names on the list, or roughly 1,000 a year between 2008 and 2013.

City judges $294,345 as uncollectible

City administration is bringing forward a bylaw to write off as uncollectible $294,345 in money owed to the city, the lion’s share arising from outstanding bylaw fines and court fees between 2008 and 2013.

By Chuck Tobin on January 20, 2021

City administration is bringing forward a bylaw to write off as uncollectible $294,345 in money owed to the city, the lion’s share arising from outstanding bylaw fines and court fees between 2008 and 2013.

Bylaw fines and court fees during the five-year period account for $263,381 of the outstanding debt, while $20,225 is the result of parking tickets issued in 2019 to vehicles with non-Yukon plates that remain unpaid.

The proposed bylaw to write off the debts was presented to council at its meeting Monday. Council is scheduled to vote on first reading next Monday.

The administrative report to council notes the generally accepted accounting principles require such debt to be written off and recorded.

“In all cases listed in the proposed bylaw, in-house collection procedures have been exhausted and it has been determined that there is little chance of recovery,” says the report.

It notes some of the files of the three individuals and two companies on the list will remain active with collection agencies, and any returns received will be recorded.

In one case, for instance, the report points out the estate of a late resident has not yet settled up with the $4,126 the city maintains is owed by the estate.

But the file will remain active with a collection agency until 2026 unless the debt is paid.

The three individuals owe a total of $5,654 and the two businesses owe a total of $5,083.

Coun. Laura Cabott said taxpayers would not likely be impressed to learn that such a large corporation like Telus would have an outstanding balance.

The administrative report notes that due to an administrative error, the invoice for an advertising contract for rink ice advertising was sent late to the Telus headquarters instead of the local agency that entered into the agreement.

The agent did pay a portion of the advertising but Telus will not pay the rest as the company did not enter into the contract, says the report.

When it came to the unpaid fines and court fees, members of council wondered if it might be possible to take another crack at contacting the individuals in an attempt to collect.

There were suggestions that perhaps publishing their names, as the city does with outstanding property tax accounts, might assist.

But senior staff assured council the city has done what it can to collect the outstanding fines.

Brittany Dixon, the manager of financial services, said there are about 5,000 names on the list, or roughly 1,000 a year between 2008 and 2013.

Many may have moved out of the territory, she said.

Valerie Braga, the director of corporate services, said everybody on the list would have received at least two letters,

But Coun. Dan Boyd said he once had delinquent parking tickets a few years ago but didn’t receive any notice, though there was a small issue with his address.

Had he received notice, he would have paid them, he said.

Boyd said it was only when he went to renew his vehicle registration that he was notified by the Yukon government’s motor vehicles branch that he had outstanding tickets.

Under an arrangement between the city and the branch, any vehicle owner with outstanding tickets exceeding $100 is not allowed to renew registration until the tickets are paid.

It was during the formative years of the arrangement from 2008 to 2013 that the city and the branch worked together to integrate and develop the system, Dixon explained.

Braga said the outstanding fines and court fees from 2014 onward will be brought forward one year at a time instead of all at once.

The city issues an average of $577,226 in bylaw traffic fines annually, and another $17,176 in animal control fines, according to records.

Comments (16)

Up 7 Down 0

Kevin H on Jan 24, 2021 at 7:43 am

That’s a lot of taxpayer money to tragically throw away. In order to recoup the costs, it’d be more beneficial to make some cuts in the bylaw department for some positions that overlap and that are useless. Otherwise, why pay for those positions to issue bylaw tickets that are going to be uncollected anyways? What you’re doing is paying the Pied Piper while they pull the wool over your eyes. Either that, or use those bylaw positions that you’re paying for to go out and start collecting after everything else has failed. Obviously something is broken and the city is failing to correct it. Remember, any way you spin it, this is taxpayer money.

Up 10 Down 1

YukonMax on Jan 23, 2021 at 6:07 am

@ Wes...When renewing my driver license a few years back, an unpaid ticket from 32 years ago in Ontario showed up. I had to pay it over the phone or my drivers license wouldn't have been renewed. Why can't the Yukon do the same?
Driver licenses are issued for 5 years here. This is the Yukon, the population size of a small town, how challenging can this be?

Up 13 Down 0

The Real Just Sayin' on Jan 22, 2021 at 10:28 am

I am soooooooo gonna remember this article next time I get a parking ticket.

Up 15 Down 1

Yoduh on Jan 21, 2021 at 6:54 pm

Print their names!
That is too much money to write off, do your job COW or take down the meters.

Up 13 Down 3

My Opinion on Jan 21, 2021 at 3:41 pm

City employees are not going to collect any of this money owed. Why would they, they get paid regardless, they don't like controversy and push back.
Just look at the sign on their front counter, it schools the tax payer on how they have to talk to them or you could hurt their feelings. They are special and need a trophy.

Up 16 Down 1

YT on Jan 21, 2021 at 2:22 pm

Give me 50% and I’ll go get your money.

Up 22 Down 0

No Longer Needs to Pay Parking Tickets on Jan 21, 2021 at 12:20 pm

Sweet! I guess this means I don't have to pay any of my future parking tickets! I no longer have to worry about going in to get them paid, as the City won't come after me for it. All I have to do is play dumb and ignore the City, and eventually they'll forgive my debt. Good deal!

Up 22 Down 1

Wes on Jan 21, 2021 at 7:30 am

So why bother with bylaws anyway if enforcement is complaint driven and fine payment is optional?
Get rid of the bylaw enforcement department entirely, they’re nothing more than parking attendants. Contract out the collection of parking meter money, but since bylaws are complaint driven, just do away with parking meters. Nobody I know would phone in to complain about not paying for parking.
Think of the money the city could save. They could hire some more communications people...

Seriously though (although I was being serious, mostly), does nobody communicate between the various levels of government?? Tie bylaw fine payment to property taxes, or to vehicle registration, or something. Good lord, how much does upper management get paid? If a simple placer miner can think of this stuff, surely to god the director of finance for the city or an ADM at YG could. Legislation can be created or amended, it’s not like building a particle accelerator.

Up 27 Down 1

Davis on Jan 21, 2021 at 6:57 am

Good to know that if I hold off long enough on paying any bylaw fines the City will just give up and throw it out.

Up 18 Down 3

Peter on Jan 21, 2021 at 6:43 am

Parking meters are only there as revenue base. City bylaw acts to complaint driven. So who is complaining about parking. If they would put more effort in enforcing the bicycle bylaw and educating pedestrians crossing, talking and texting on their cellbphones at cross walks, it would be better time spent and protect the public.

Up 8 Down 19

Wilf Carter on Jan 20, 2021 at 11:09 pm

Liberals' socialism is alive and well in Yukon.

Up 17 Down 0

drum on Jan 20, 2021 at 6:12 pm

How do I get forgiveness for any money owed. Taxes, fines etc?

Up 19 Down 2

Olaf on Jan 20, 2021 at 4:56 pm

Perhaps a web link to the names of the guilty is in order.
Shame will be the price you pay for delinquency.

Up 50 Down 7

Cabin Fever Carl on Jan 20, 2021 at 3:16 pm

I just want to know how I can get a job at financial services. Wowser!

Up 46 Down 2

Bingo on Jan 20, 2021 at 2:53 pm

“May or may not have moved out” they either did or did not, do some due diligence and find those still living here and collect the fees. It’s not chump change we are talking about.

Up 11 Down 65

JSmonk on Jan 20, 2021 at 1:23 pm

We should be cancelling all debt owed across the city that is outstanding at all. This year has been tough and I think everyone deserves it. Cancel all debt.

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