UA, MVD join forces in ticket debt crackdown

By Charles Ratliff

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The UA's Parking and Transportation Services has accumulated a number of unpaid "floating" citations over the past 10 years.

And, with nearly $1 million in outstanding ticket debts, Parking and Transportation Services teamed up with Arizona's Motor Vehicle Division this year in order to track down delinquent drivers.

"These are people who have lots of citations," said Marlis Davis, director of Parking and Transportation Services. "Usually we'll go in and try to identify who they belong to and try to get the money that's owed to the university."

Davis said her department has determined that multiple ticket offenders owe just slightly under $1 million to the University of Arizona, and that is not including unpaid citations of less than $50.

"It's really a lot of money owed to the university," Davis said. "There are a lot of things that we need to provide better services to those who are here. That money would go toward providing better services to those on the university campus who abide by the rules."

Davis said MVD requires the computer link with the university be confidential. Only two people in her department are authorized to access MVD's files.

Maria Uzueta, dispatcher for Parking and Transportation Services, is one of those who has been approved access to MVD's files. When a car is impounded or booted, the license or permit number is called in.

Uzueta would then access MVD in order to notify the owner.

"A lot of times we do courtesy calls," she said. "Instead of towing the vehicle we have called the

individuals saying this is the situation: we need the car moved or else we have no choice."

Davis said that when a car is booted or impounded the system would also identify whether the violator holds any outstanding citations. Now, she said, they could go in and match those citations to the person who owns the vehicle.

"We're going to identify tickets that are out there that people have gotten that aren't matched up," Davis said, "and match them up so they will be billed."

Davis said precautions are taken, because when they tell someone they owe the university money for past citations there is always a chance that parking and transportation has made a mistake, or that the student did not own the car, or other factors were involved.

If someone got a citation for parking illegally then they need to just come in and pay that citation, she said.

And, if someone is identified as having outstanding citations, then a letter will be issued telling them to come down and take care of them, Davis said.

Davis said, however, there is always the chance of someone saying "I paid; I have proof." If they have paid, then they have an appeal process.

"I think people need to realize that they have the opportunity, if the citations were issued by mistake or by some confusion, they need to know they need to take care of that now and they can appeal if that is true," she said.

Davis said if a student, staff or faculty member has been identified as possessing outstanding citations, they can be refused a renewed permit.

She also said students' university accounts can be encumbered; that is, prevented from registering for future classes.

"One of the things we really have to do here is to protect the parking spaces for those who participate in the permit system and follow the rules and regulations," she said.

"It (MVD) has helped us to get information faster," Uzueta said. "It's nice to have access right away."

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