City targets state tax return money to pay unpaid traffic camera - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

City targets state tax return money to pay unpaid traffic camera tickets

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The City of Cedar Rapids is using the state's 'Income Offset Program' to collect unpaid traffic camera tickets. 

At last check there was around $17 Million in unpaid traffic camera tickets out there, showing thousands of people have chosen not to pay up. 

Traffic cameras have been a topic of debate in Cedar Rapids for years now. 

"I think it's something that they're doing just to bring in the revenue I don't think it's fair," David Johnson of St. Louis told us last year. 

He had received a ticket while visiting Cedar Rapids for work. 

Meanwhile the city has always stood by their statement that the cameras improve safety. 

Now, they are working to enforce the payments by pulling them from state tax refunds. 

Sara Harrison of Hazleton is one of the thousands who have chosen not to pay their ticket, she says she wasn't even the one behind the wheel. 

"I guess that's just the frustrating part to me is that they're able to ticket my vehicle so in other words my vehicle is to blame for the speeding not necessarily the person you know pushing the accelerator," she told us. 

The legality of the cameras has been put in question over the years. 

In fact the cameras on I-380 aren't issuing tickets anymore and won't be until the court case is resolved. 

The city is currently appealing the Iowa DOT's order that some of the cameras be relocated or taken down. 

In the meantime people like Harrison will be in for some disappointment when they check the status of their state tax refund online. 

"It said that the City of Cedar Rapids was actually holding my refund until further investigation or something like that along that wording. And I said, I was like well that's weird I don't have anything else that goes on in Cedar Rapids except for that ticket that I got way back when," Harrison says. 

The city is appealing the DOT order along with Des Moines and Muscatine. 

We are told the appeal has been made to the District Court as well as the Iowa Supreme Court. 

The city tells us the state's 'Income Offset Program' allows for the offset of payment made by the state, like a tax refund, to be used to pay debts owed to them. 

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