ANN ARBOR — For more than a decade, according to City Administrator Roger Fraser, who was elected only last year, the city of Ann Arbor has done nothing about collecting traffic ticket fines from people who have neglected to pay them. Fraser wants to hire a private company to do the collecting, since private contractors tend to obtain payment from about 80 percent of people with outstanding tickets.

The Ann Arbor News thinks it’s about time. “Certainly, the city couldn’t do much worse using a private contractor than it has done on its own,” the editors wrote in the April 25 issue. For just one egregious example, the paper told about an effort the city kicked off in mid-April to collect on outstanding tickets. More than 60,000 notices were sent out—many to people who had already paid their tickets in full. Then, to make matters worse, city Treasurer Mary Siefert responded to complaints by saying those claiming they had already paid would have to prove it themselves.

Six companies responded to a request for proposals sent out by the city April 17. Prospective vendors made their presentations and a decision on the contract was reached August 18. The Hawthorne, New York-based Complus Data Innovations has won a two-year contract with the city of Ann Arbor to manage the city’s traffic fines and collections. The contract is expected to save the city at least $145,000.