If you are a New Yorker and feel like you have been paying more in fines and fees throughout the city — you are not wrong.
City Comptroller Scott Stringer released a budget brief Thursday that showed New York City collected $1.9 billion — an all-time high — in fines and fees last year.
Based on the report, which breaks down the fines and fees, there has been a 13.3 percent increase in these charges over the past four fiscal years.
The city enforces fines for violations of certain rules and statutes, while fees cover a variety of municipal activities such as tuition charges from CUNY college students and building and system inspections.
“While fines and fees are critical tools to protect public health and safety, it is essential that they are applied equitably to all New Yorkers,” Stringer said. “The mayor’s successful effort to reduce pedestrian deaths through Vision Zero, for example, is reflected in enhanced enforcement of speed and bus lane cameras. As the city’s chief fiscal officer, it’s my job to make sure taxpayers are getting their money’s worth for the fees they pay, and that we are balancing the need for enforcement with fairness.”
In fiscal 2015, the city took in $957 million in fines, a 7.5 percent increase over the previous year and a 12 percent increase from 2012.
Such fines include parking violations — which made up more than 59 percent of all fines last year for a total of $565 million — and since 2012 have risen 10.3 percent.
Due to the Vision Zero initiative, the city reaped $29 million last year from red light cameras — a jump of6.9 percent over the year before. The rise was part of a total 41 percent increase in camera revenues since 2012 due to an increase in school zone speed cameras.
Last year the city also issued fines for 623,758 “quality of life” violations — such as littering and noise pollution — bringing in $150 million. The majority of these increases was due to a 40 percent jump in recycling and dirty sidewalk violations since 2012.
The city took in $974 million in fees last year, an increase of $124 million — or 14.6 percent — from 2012.
Revenue from CUNY students soared 22.3 percent from 2012 to 2015, mainly due to a 25 percent tuition hike at community colleges.
After the CUNY revenue, the city made $211 million from 85,000 parking meters and 39 municipal garages; $93 million from FDNY inspections and fire insurance fees; $28 million from city register publication fees; and $23 million from towing by the NYPD.
In addition, the city of New York collected $10.5 million in credit card “convenience” fees — which are imposed when individuals pay fines, fees and taxes online using their credit cards.
“As fines and fees increase, it’s important for New Yorkers to see and understand what they are being charged for,” Stringer said.