Forgiving Fines: The New York City Amnesty Program collects more debt than the City collected in all of FY2014
Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced the resolution of more than $150 million in debt from violations issued by city agencies – the result of a three-month Department of Finance amnesty program, run in conjunction with the New York City Council. As part of the program, 120,000 violations were processed, resulting in collection of $43 million of outstanding debt to the City – more than the city collected for all of Fiscal Year 2014 – and the waiving of more than $106 million in penalties and interest for home- and business-owners. This was the first amnesty program since 2009.
“Any time we can help New Yorkers save, while simultaneously collecting owed debt, we are doing right by the city,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This year’s amnesty program, the first under this administration, saved New Yorkers over $150 million – money that we hope will provide a little comfort this holiday season.”
“The New York City Amnesty Program has had a significant impact on many communities across our City,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “This important initiative has helped save New Yorkers their hard-earned money, while at the same time also improving efficiency by clearing up hundreds of violations. The New York City Council is proud to have worked with the Mayor’s administration and other City agencies to make this happen.”
Forgiving Fines: The New York City Amnesty Program ran from September 12 through December 12 and covered unpaid violations that were in judgment. For those who failed to attend a hearing for their violation, the Amnesty Program waived 100 percent of the default penalty, as well as the interest on their judgment. Those who attended hearings, were required to pay only 75 percent of the base fine and had 100 percent of their interest forgiven.
New Yorkers with compliance violations (typically issued by the Department of Buildings or the FDNY) have six months to fix the underlying conditions and pay the base fee.
The amnesty program did not cover parking tickets. Some of the most common violations the city collected debt on include improper disposal of trash or recyclables; working without a permit; failure to conduct required building inspections and tests; failure to clear snow, ice or dirt from the sidewalk; and illegal posting of handbill or notice.