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Suffolk County Reconsiders Doubling Traffic & Parking Ticket Fees To Raise Revenue

HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A proposal that was scrapped last year in Suffolk County because of irate residents is now back up for discussion.

As CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reported, there were minor meltdowns Thursday at the Traffic and Parking Violations Bureau for drivers learning the controversial traffic ticket surcharge might be resurrected.

It would double the administrative fee from $55 to $110.

"Wow, that is not fair," student Daniel Gallega said.

"I just think that's absurd," a man added.

CBS2 first covered Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone's proposal last year before it was withdrawn amid backlash.

But now some Suffolk County legislators are reconsidering, as they're pressed to raise revenue for the cash-strapped government.

"Curious when I actually received the ticket what this administrative fee was even doing and where the money was going," Deer Park resident Peter Troffa said.

"All those fees accumulated, it exceeds that amount of money they could possible need. It's ridiculous," Raquel Peters, of Rocky Point, said. "I wonder where all this money is going?"

Suffolk County faces a $160 million deficit, and a Wall Street ratings agency downgraded the county's bond rating last month.

Fees are not popular, but something has to be done to raise revenue, according to Suffolk County Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory.

"People are uncomfortable with raising fees for the traffic violations bureau. It is something we will debate," he told McLogan. "Not sure if we have the support to do it, but it is one of the options that was put in the budget for this year, that we do have to consider."

Republicans blasted the idea.

"They're fees but they're really the same three letter word – it's a tax," Suffolk County legislator Robert Trotta said.

A minor parking mistake could lead to a $30 fine, saddled with a $110 fee, which could catapult to $145. It would be a nightmare for drivers like Gallega.

"Especially in my position. I just got very hurt financially," he said.

"You can't just raise the fees because you want to raise the fees. There needs to be some justification," Trotta said.

The county executive issued a statement, saying he's encouraged to see legislators "taking decisive action to address the county's budget challenges."

Budget talks for next year's spending plan will begin in September.

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