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Mangano Proposes $105 Fee On Nassau County Traffic Tickets

MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano is looking to add a $105 fee to traffic and parking tickets.

The public safety fee was introduced as part of Mangano's 2017 budget proposal and could double the current fines for traffic and parking tickets in Nassau County, WCBS 880's Sophia Hall reported.

Mangano says the fee would help pay for the police force to work overtime in policing public events, and would alleviate homeowners from potential tax increases. 

"First, good news for homeowners, there is no property tax increase. Second, we live in unprecedented times. I feel very strongly we need to hire another 150 police officers," Mangano said.

Nassau County legislator Kevan Abrahams says he worries that increased fees with prompt people to leave the county in search of less expensive living conditions.

"It's extremely unfair," Abrahams said. "I mean look, no one should be running lights and we should all be driving safer in this town -- but the punishment needs to fit the actual offense or the crime."

Right now, a red light camera ticket is $50, with a $45 administration fee that brings the total to $95. According to Abrahams, the new fee would bring the total cost up to nearly $200 per ticket.

"We're not going to attract young people, we're not going to keep people here...with unfair fees," Abrahams said.

Brian Carter of Williston Park told CBS2's Jennifer McLogan it's "outrageous."

"It's absolutely outrageous. First of all, how can they charge you a fee whether you are guilty or not guilty?" Carter asked.

A ticketed driver must go to traffic court to prove innocence in order to get the $105 fee waived.

"That's great. Why don't we just move to a third-world country?" Sandy Hacker of Oceanside said.

Eric Cruz of Bellmore called it a "pickpocket tax."

"Pickpocket tax, that's what we're getting. Not raising property taxes so politicians can say we didn't raise property taxes," Cruz said.

Many drivers said they don't want higher taxes and welcome more police to keep them safe.

"Clearly, it's a money grab, banking on people breaking the law? It's actually dependent on people breaking the law," Nassau County legislator Laura Curran said.

The AAA called it a bad precedent.

"Especially in the cases of a parking ticket, you might be a minute or two late, and for lack of a quarter, you may have to pay almost $300," AAA spokesman Robert Sinclar said.

The AAA said the fee puts police in a difficult position, giving out tickets to fund themselves and could erode public confidence.

The county expects to issue 600,000 tickets next year. A $105 added fee for each could create $64 million in new revenue.

The announcement comes after reports that the Nassau County Police Department exceeded its 2015 police overtime budget by nearly $14.4 million, according to Newsday. 

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