Westchester's smallest municipal courts aren't so small -- when it comes to collecting money.
In fact, the county's 35 town and village courts average nearly $1 million in annual fines and fees for traffic violations and parking tickets. And three of the Westchester municipalities rank among the state's top 10 "high-enforcement" regions of New York.
Harrison, Port Chester and Greenburgh rank among the top 10 municipalities statewide in annual fines collected from tickets, according to the state Comptroller's Office.
This ranking did not include court revenue totals for the cities of Yonkers, White Plains, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, Peekskill or Rye. City courts operate as an arm of the Office of Court Administration and are directly administered and funded by the Unified Court System. Because of that, city courts are not required to report to the state Comptroller's Justice Court Fund.
The Town and Village Court Revenue Report data published to OSC's website can include parking ticket revenue where applicable, in addition to other Vehicle and Traffic Law violations revenue (as well as revenue from various other violation types). Parking ticket revenue can be from vehicle and traffic law violations as well as local ordinance violations.
The town of Harrison collected $3.9 million in 2017, $1.1 million more than it did just two years earlier. The village of Port Chester collected $3.3 million in 2017 -- the latest year available. The town of Greenburgh collected $2.75 million that year.
Town and Village Court revenue totals include state surcharges on tickets. State and county officials explained that Bedford, Harrison, Greenburgh and Yorktown totals are higher than neighboring towns because they include revenue on tickets written by state and county police on highways or parkways passing through those towns. The same is true for the villages of Mamaroneck and Port Chester, where state and county police write tickets on highways or parkways, respectively.
Port Chester also benefits from higher than average parking ticket revenues.
All totaled, Westchester's 35 town and village courts collected more than $30 million in fines in 2017, according to the state.
Other local communities in the top 10 included:
- Village of Mamaroneck: $1.75 million
- Town of Bedford: $1.7 million
- Village of Bronxville: $1.34 million
- Town of Eastchester: $1.31 million
- Town of Yorktown: $1.1 million
- Village of Scarsdale: $1.06 million
- Town of Ossining: $996,649
Meanwhile, the wheels of justice sometimes move slowly in the busiest courts.
In the town of Harrison and village of Mamaroneck, for example, it can take nine to 10 months just to get a court appearance to challenge a vehicle and traffic violation. That's because of the volume of tickets written by police and limited hours served by part-time justices.
If you've ever been to court in Westchester, you know the fine totals could be much higher. That's because some local prosecutors and judges allow motorists to enter a guilty plea to a lesser charge.See Attachment