Mayor Rahm Emanuel told city employees this week he'd fire them if they didn't pay overdue fees and fines.
As the time to present a balanced budget grows nearer, Emanuel is now turning to residents to pay up $33 million in unpaid parking tickets, fees, fines and penalties.
“Moving forward there will be no more free rides," Emanuel said. "Debt scofflaws will be found and they will pay what they owe the city."
His plan? Crack down on parking fleets and bank debts, plus new building holds, building inspection fees, improved tax audits and EMS collections. One resident, he said, owes $87,000 in parking tickets on four different license plates that go back to 2005. The case is now in the hands of a city law firm, Emanuel said.
In another case, a rental car company owes $300,000 in outstanding parking tickets. Emanuel said the comptroller will keep putting holds on business licenses if the tickets go unpaid.
Billing and collections will be consolidated under Emanuel's appointed city comptroller Amer Ahmad. Previously, several departments performed separate billing and collection.
“We will take a smarter more aggressive approach to recover this debt," Emanuel said, "not only to collect what we are owed but to ensure that it never reaches this level again.”