A recent change in a state law regulating the issuance and renewal of driver's licenses could generate more than $400,000 in revenue in four of the Grosse Pointes. It is also likely to have a big impact for many municipalities throughout the state.
Discussion about Senate Bill 0130 began in the state legislature last year but finally gained approval and was signed into law recently. Essentially, the bill amended the number of unpaid parking tickets a licensed driver may have before the Secretary of State will not renew the license.
The law previously allowed drivers to have up to six unpaid tickets before license renawal would be denied; the amendment lowered that number to three.
Court officials in the Grosse Pointes believe the change in the law could create a flurry of activity and are encouraging drivers with unpaid parking tickets to pay them, or risk losing their license.
In the , more than 150 people have three to five unpaid parking tickets, Court Administrator Marcia Tomkiewicz said. Additionally, there are about 100 people who have a suspended driver's license due to having six or more unpaid parking tickets, she said.
Notices have been sent to those with multiple tickets issued in the City of Grosse Pointe, warning them of the change in the law and the risk of non-renewal/suspension, Tomkiewicz said.
The impact of the law, while positive for the bottom line of cities, may create a flurry of activity in the courts, officials in the Pointes believe. The number of unpaid parking tickets in the Grosse Pointes alone is approximately 14,000 and the value of those tickets is about $407,000, according to figures shared with Patch from five courts.
The change is likely to benefit many municipalities throughout the state. First, it will bring in money owed to the municipality and in many, that amount is significant. Secondly, it will help ease the backlog of unpaid tickets.
Sen. David Hildenbrand, serving Grand Rapids, introduced the bill for the reduction in the number of allowable tickets. He said the idea came about while he was working with officials from Grand Rapids, where there were between $3 to $4 million in unpaid parking tickets.
For some cities, Hildenbrand said the figures are much more. He used Detroit as an example. He did not have an exact figure but recalled it being more than $100 million for Detroit alone.
"We all hate getting parking tickets obviously, but if you do, you have an obligation. Driving is a privelage and paying a parking ticket goes along with all of the other responsibilities," Hildenbrand said, listing vehicle registration, license plates and insurance as some of the other responsibilities of owning and operating a vehicle.
Considering the financial difficulties most cities are facing now, the revenue owed to the cities by driver's very well could be financially helpful, Hildenbrand said.
Below are the figures for the Grosse Pointes:City Unpaid Tickets Total Outstanding Fines/Fees 5,303 $147,527 City of Grosse Pointe 4,000 $91,700 755 $18,357 Grosse Pointe Woods 3,900 $149,400 Totals 13,958
is mostly residential and does not have any metered or other public parking, therefore few parking tickets are issued. Shores Court Administrator Madeline Eberhardt said there are an insignificant number, if any, unpaid tickets in the Shores as a result.
Essentially, anyone with three or more unpaid parking tickets will be flagged in the Secretary of State's system and the next time their driver's license must be renewed, officials will decline the renewal.
The renewal will not be processed until the driver addresses the unpaid tickets. In Michigan, driver's licenses are renewed every four years.