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A Fine Myth Dispelled: City Collecting Less Cash For Violations

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- There are dozens of ways New Yorkers can get fined by the city -- failing to clean up after your dog, not bundling up your magazines on recycling day and, of course, parking your car in the wrong spot.

Sometimes, irate residents seem convinced the city is trying to balance its budget by catching them committing minor infractions. But according to a blog post by the city's Independent Budget Office on Tuesday, the Bloomberg Administration is actually hauling in less money from fines than it did a few years ago.

The city estimates that fine revenue will total $812.5 million this fiscal year, which is up about $13 million from last year. However, the 2013 fiscal year, which ended June 30, was an an anomaly because in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the city suspended some parking rules and rededicated parking enforcement officers to direct traffic instead.

LINK: IBO Blog Post

This year's estimated total of fine revenue is about $42.5 million less than what the city collected in 2010.

Parking fines account for the majority of the fines -- about $518.2 million estimated for this fiscal year.

But there are plenty of other infractions that could lead to New Yorkers cutting a check to the city, the IBO noted. There are 50 different park violations on the books -- unauthorized assembly and remaining after the park has closed, for instance -- and 80 sanitation-related ways to get ticketed -- such as failure to bundle up cardboard for recycling and not shoveling a sidewalk after a snowstorm.

In recent months, the city has come under fire from food vendors for an increasing number of health-code fines -- climbing from $30 million a year to $50 million in the three years since the city Department of Health began its letter-grade system.

Believe it or not, however, not all fines are money-makers for the city. In a 2003 report, the IBO found that only parking tickets generated more money than it cost to enforce regulations and collect fines.

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