Good Question: Has Rochester given up on $7 million?

November 19, 2018 07:42 AM

Has the City of Rochester given up on efforts to get back money in past due fines?

Pat Taney was asked to look into that for this week's Good Question report.


This is about those old red light cameras. As of right now, $7 million in unpaid fines is uncollected. Pat was asked if the city has stopped trying to collect it.

It's been nearly two years since those red light cameras in Rochester were turned off.

A man, who wants to remain anonymous, admits he still has unpaid fines.

Taney: Was there a reason you didn't pay them?

"I could not afford them at the time," he told us.

People like him are the reason the program ended. Mayor Lovely Warren said the fines unfairly targeted people who could not afford to pay.

In the past, the city threatened people with outstanding fines two ways: pay the fines or your car, if parked on city streets, could get the boot lock.

The unpaid debt could also go on credit reports.

But our viewer hasn't been booted and as far as his credit report?

"I saw it about a year and a half ago and it's no longer there and nothing is in the mail. It's been taken off my report," he told us.

So we went to city hall to get answers. Spokesperson James Smith denied that the city has abandoned all efforts to get back the money.

But News10NBC  found out the city is no longer working with a collection agency. They've tried but no agency will bite.

"They haven't seen this as a project they want to get involved with," said Smith.

Again more than $7 million worth of fines is still unpaid.

"Yes, that is money we could use and we're certainly trying to collect that debt but there's also a point where the resources needed to collect that debt may end up more than what you'll get in the end," said Smith.

"You can't get blood out of a rock. If people don't have the ability to pay it's very hard to collect and we recognize that."

Smith is still asking people to pay up.

"You really need to pay that debt. it's an obligation and we all have a civic duty to do that."

As it stands right now, the city has collected about $350,000 in fines since the program ended in 2016. That's about $64,000 more than they collected this time last year.

If you have a question you'd like Pat to answer, send him an email to


Pat Taney

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