FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – Ted Nishcan walked into the Fort Collins Municipal Court on Monday to pay a $160 speeding ticket.
He discovered that the credit card machine wasn’t working, and he didn’t have $160 in cash, so he thought of another plan.
“I went home, got my savings, counted it out and it was $160,” Nishcan told CBS4.
The 24-year-old Front Range Community College student says he doesn’t have much money; his savings consists of coins in a “change bucket.” He says he couldn’t afford the extra bank charges to convert his change into cash, so he walked back into the courthouse, this time with his big bucket full of coins.
“They weren’t happy. They were like ‘Is that change? Is that how you’re going to pay for it?’ I said ‘Yeah, it’s money.’ They said ‘No, we can’t accept that.'”
City officials say it has been a long standing city policy not to accept coins for payment of tickets and fines.
“It’s not the best use of resources for us to spend counting, not once, but twice, to check (that it’s correct change),” city spokeswoman Kim Newcomer said.
Nishcan says he was furious, plus he was worried he might lose his license.
“I was just aggravated. It’s just the principle. It’s real money.”
CBS4’s Tom Mustin asked Nishcan if he was “just trying to be a smart aleck” by paying such an expensive ticket with coins.
“No, that’s just what I have. I’m a college kid so I don’t have a lot of money,” Nishcan said.
Newcomer says city officials thought it over once they found out about the situation and said they now plan to ditch the coin policy. They are working on a plan to borrow the coin counting machine used by the parking services department.
“Although it’s rare that people come in and want to pay with a large amount of loose coins, we want to find a way for people to do that,” Newcomer said.
Ted was finally able to pay his ticket online using his financial aid reimbursement card. He says he’s happy to hear of the change the city plans to make.
“Hopefully more people that are broke like me can pay with their pocket change,” he said.