(MINEOLA, N.Y.) - Nassau County Legislator Joshua A. Lafazan (D - Woodbury) joined with fellow members of the Nassau County Legislature’s Minority Caucus on Monday, Dec. 19 to unveil his proposal for reducing fees that are currently being affixed to Nassau County red-light camera tickets.
While Suffolk County recently took action to eliminate certain administrative fees on red-light camera tickets, Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello has stated in recent media reports that he currently has “no plans” to revisit the issue at this time. Legislator Lafazan is calling on the Presiding Officer to put Nassau taxpayers and take an important step toward returning the focus of the red-light camera program to its rightful place - public safety.
“People need relief, and they need it now,” Legislator Lafazan said. “Government has a responsibility to meet this moment. And the very first place to do it is addressing some of the onerous and unjustified fees this county charges.”
To provide additional relief for Nassau homeowners, Legislator Lafazan’s proposal would slash the Mortgage and Deed Recording fees (currently $300) to $50 and the Tax Map Verification fee (currently $355) to $50. Like the driver responsibility fee, the legality of the Tax Map Verification fee is currently being challenged in court. To ensure that these adjustments are made in a fiscally responsible and sustainable manner, Legislator Lafazan will request a fiscal impact analysis of the proposal from the independent Office of Legislative Budget Review.
Legislator Lafazan’s proposal is consistent with the Democratic Minority’s longstanding opposition to the Republican Majority’s practice of using County fees as a revenue source.
While the Republican Majority proposed fee cuts last year, they did so as a vessel for an election-eve political stunt that would have wreaked budgetary havoc amidst a tenuous period of the County’s economic recovery from COVID-19 and potentially jeopardized nearly $23.5 million in funding for the Nassau County Police Department. Accordingly, the Minority Caucus blocked this cynical attempt at a return to speculative, yo-yo budgeting practices.
Now that Nassau County is continuing to enjoy strong, steady economic recovery after emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic and sales tax revenues have continued to grow through 2022 without experiencing the expected downward turn that was warned about during the last budget season, the time is right to devise a methodical, sustainable plan for addressing these fees, Legislator Lafazan said.
“This money is not ours, but rather the people’s - and should be returned. So not only is this the morally right thing to do, it’s also a legal imperative,” Legislator Lafazan said. “I hope that the County Executive as well as the Republican Legislators believe that taxpayers deserve relief and that they will work with us to pass this plan. For tens of thousands of Nassau residents, they simply can’t afford to wait.”
PHOTO CAPTION - From left: Nassau County Legislators Debra Mulé, Joshua Lafazan and Arnold W. Drucker, pictured in the Theodore Roosevelt Executive & Legislative Building, on Monday, Dec. 19, 2022.
PHOTO CREDIT - Office of Legislator Joshua A. Lafazan