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Nassau County Considers Ways To Collect Unpaid Traffic And Parking Fines

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Nassau County is having a tough time balancing its budget, and yet, the county has let millions of dollars in traffic and parking tickets go unpaid.

The county has failed to collect $10 million in unpaid red-light camera fines as well as $26 million in parking tickets and $44 million in traffic fines.

That's 107,000 red-light camera fines alone that have gone uncollected, even as the cash-strapped county laid off hundreds of workers, cut services and is proposing to consolidate police precincts.

"There's revenue out there. Tens of millions of dollars of revenue just sitting on the street," Jerry Laricchiuta, CSEA Union President, told CBS 2's Carolyn Gusoff.

The county union president said his workforce can boot and tow scofflaws and has offered to.

"We think we work together with them and bring this cash in," he said.

The deal is under consideration. In a statement, a spokesman for the Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said: "Because the bulk of uncollected fines date back years before County Executive Mangano took office, the county is contracting with a firm to collect these dollars and is implementing a program to boot and tow scofflaws."

The spokesman said they're also exploring less expensive options to collect the ticket money.

Critics said they see it a different way.

"I hate pointing fingers of blame but, in my estimation, the ball was dropped," said Nassau County Legislator Judy Jacobs.

Some lawmakers are calling for hearings into the county's failure to collect ticket fines. Meanwhile, you may want to pay your fines now. The county union is hopeful it will take over the job of booting and towing within months.

Union leaders said they met with Mangano on Tuesday to try to hammer out a plan to finally collect those unpaid tickets.

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