In 1991, New York State established a process for collecting its share of municipal court fines that was both bizarre and inefficient. At that time, local municipalities were required to submit to the NYS Comptroller’s Office all of the fines and judgments collected each quarter. Then, they had to wait for the Comptroller’s Office to audit each submission before removing the state’s portion and returning the municipality’s share. As you can imagine, the backlog for reimbursement was extensive. During the extended delay, the state was earning interest on the float of millions of dollars.
During a visit to Long Island, Comptroller Carl McCall met with the NCVOA Executive Board, which explained this dysfunctional system. The Comptroller agreed. As a result, Governor George Pataki, on October 2, 1996, signed into law a bill repealing the law and allowing local municipalities to simply deduct the state share and send it to Albany.
Also, the NCVOA worked with the Comptroller’s office to develop a system that allows the approximately 1,300 state town and village courts to file electronically the transaction of each financial quarter. This innovation allowed the Controller’s office to relocate approximately 60 state employees that were auditing the hundreds of thousands of tickets and court transactions in the system.
The NCVOA’s initiative saved towns and villages across New York State millions of dollars during the following 23 years.