An estimated 15,000 people who paid parking tickets and other city fines in recent years found letters in their mailboxes over the past few days demanding that they pay up on the old tickets.

But the letters, sent by the Duncan Solutions, the service the city uses to collect parking fines, also specified that the amount owed was $0.00.

Puzzled residents started posting complaints about the notices on the message board of Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward.

Now City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz has responded with word that Duncan has fessed up to the problem, baming a “corrupt computer file,” and will, at its expense, send apology letters to the folks who got the confusing notices.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Parking Fee

    I sent mine back with the "Zero" box circled and the note "AMOUNT ENCLOSED".

    1. Nice job…

      Wasting a stamp.

      It's really much ado about nothing. The vendor screwed up. The City didn't have anything to do with it. 

  2. I see that the letters of

    I see that the letters of apology will be at the private company's expense. But what about the unneccessary notices that started all this?  Were THEY issued at the city's expense? If so, how much is that costing the taxpayers?

    I was one of the recipients of those unneccessary notices, for a ticket I paid years ago for not displaying my city sticker. Adding insult to injury, I had the sticker but had just forgotten to put it on the window, and when I told the officer, rather than verifying this he insisted on writing the ticket anyway because he assured me that contesting the ticket with proof of prior purchase would void the ticket. Q: Why would an officer write a ticket if s/he believes it's going to get dismissed?  A: Because that was a big fat lie. The ticket stood, because the sticker was not "displayed," regardless of the fact that it was purchased.  So the officer lied to my face, rather than just be honest about it or, heaven forbid, do the right thing and forego a chance to grab some extra cash for the city and meet his ticket quota for the day. Lying does NOT breed good will with the community. Add on this poorly managed collections process that spends the ticket revenue on pointless collection notices for paid tickets, and it seems like our parking enforcement system is a disingenuous and inefficient cycle of revenue generating and revenue wasting, all at residents' ultimate expense.

    Parking rates are up to outrageous levels in downtown Evanston. That is even harder to swallow when it appears the revenue is managed in an inefficient, wasteful manner.

  3. I had a similar experience as

    I had a similar experience as I. Rate (no sticker ticket even though I had a sticker and was not able to contest it) and feel as he/she does that Evanston has crossed over into some form of parking facism.

    However, my point in posting this comment is that I really wish Duncan solutions would not send out apology letters — it's just compounding the environmental waste of the error.

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