If you haven't paid your parking tickets, you may want to start paying them off.

Moose Jaw City Council voted in favour of authorizing a towing strategy for anyone with outstanding parking tickets as well as hiring another bylaw officer to enforce parking tickets and derelict properties.

The proposed 2023 budget estimates $66,000 in expenses for hiring a new bylaw officer and $50,000 for parking enforcement and $250,000 in additional revenue for a net revenue of $134,000.

The city currently has over 4,000 individuals that owe $1.08 million in parking tickets that have never been enforced. Below is a full breakdown of outstanding parking tickets

Chart of parking tickets

"If we see the recovery of close to a third of outstanding fines than this should cover administrative costs for implementing this program," said city solicitor Andrew Svenson, noting that it isn't perfect and there will still be fines the city won't be able to collect.

Coun. Heather Eby said she's heard loud and clear that collecting unpaid parking tickets is something the community wants.

"There are many, many, many people in the City of Moose Jaw who are unhappy about the high amount of uncollected parking tickets out there. I've had a few calls over the years and its annoying to people who pay their tickets and other people don't. Everyone can do the math, but if there is $1 million outstanding and we could collect that all today, that would be over three per cent that we could reduce our tax ask for this year," she said.

According to the Cities Act, the city has the power to collect outstanding parking fines through vehicle seizures. The Act is also retroactive to 2006, meaning the city could tow the vehicle of anyone in the province with outstanding fines dating back to Jan. 1, 2006. All outstanding tickets took place after 2006.

"It maybe that people are hoping that it's outdated now and they can be forgiven for those fines but they are still in existence and we are going to try and get you to pay for what you owe," Svenson said.

Seizing vehicles would be a four-step process. The city will send a letter out to the offender letting them know that their vehicle may be seized if their outstanding parking tickets are not paid by a certain date. If the fines are voluntarily paid, any vehicle registered to that person, not just the offending vehicle, will be located and the towing company will be alerted to go to that location. Moose Jaw police will also be alerted that the city is towing a certain vehicle.

City manager Jim Puffalt said there is the possibility for a tier system of taking smaller outstanding fines to a collection agency instead of towing vehicles.

"It might appear to be heavy-handed if we go to somebody and tow their vehicle if they owe us under $100 and so there may be a tier system that we look at if you're under $100 we'll send you to a collection agency. Some of the big ticket items we've seen here, there is some fair amount of money out there that we would go to the tow," Puffalt said.

The offender will then be given written notice that their vehicle has been seized and they can attend the impound lot to pay the fine and associated towing fees. Svenson said, in the end, they don't want to tow any vehicles.

"We are hoping that its doesn't come down to a tow truck showing up at somebody's house taking their vehicle away. We're hoping that, with the consequences, the parking tickets get paid," Svenson said.

The City of Saskatoon implements a towing strategy and it reports that 85 per cent of parking tickets get paid. Currently, about 80 per cent of parking tickets in Moose Jaw get paid.

Svenson said the next steps are communicating with the Moose Jaw Police Service and the city's bylaw officers, get copies of convictions from the Moose Jaw police, speak with towing companies to see the level of interest and negotiate an agreement and prepare a bylaw to allow for fines and towing.