Could a ninja help Milwaukee's millions in unpaid parking tickets?

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by John Cuoco

MILWAUKEE- In the city of Milwaukee there are over one million unpaid parking tickets.

Those unpaid tickets amount to $53 million revenue the city could use.

That money would go into the city's parking fund. Each year the Mayor and Common Council dip into the parking fund.

According to the city, the first draw on Parking Fund revenue is the cost of enforcement, parking-related debt, etc.

They add that it is very common in local governments for some of the money from fines to be used for operations.

In 2013, the city drew $18 million from the parking fund. $20 million in 2012 and $22 million in 2011.

Former MSOE student Nick Gartmann created a program called "Ticket Ninja" to help people remember to pay their tickets.

The program works by a person registering their car and credit card with the "Ticket Ninja" website, then Nick and his team scan everyday for tickets in Milwaukee, Madison, and Chicago.

They send an e-mail when you get a ticket and that e-mail allows you to pay the ticket right away with a click of a button.

If you wait, right before a late fee kicks in they pay the tick for you with a small $3 charge.

That $3 is less than both the Milwaukee and Chicago late fee.

According to numbers from Nick and "Ticket Ninja" 750,000 tickets were given out in Milwaukee in 2012, with one parking officer gave out 378 tickets in a day.

So far the program has paid 30 citations for its 57 users.

The group has also created "Goodnight Car" which helps people more easily register their car for overnight parking.

Nick said most tickets come between two and five in the morning.

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