NYS Supreme Court Allows Islandia’s Lawsuit against Suffolk County Seeking Lost Ticket Revenue to Move Forward

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Mayor Allan M. Dorman, Village of Islandia, has announced that the New York State Supreme Court has allowed a lawsuit filed by the village against Suffolk County in a bid to recoup lost ticket revenue since the county established the Traffic Violations Bureau (TVB) two years ago to proceed.

In 2008, then-Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy replaced Suffolk County police highway patrols on the Long Island Expressway between Exits 57 and 58 with deputies from the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department as a cost-saving measure. Just before leaving office in 2011, he extended the agreement with the deputies through 2017. Under the agreement, the Sheriff’s Department continues the longstanding practice of writing tickets between the exits with Islandia as the court of jurisdiction.

In 2012, the current county executive, Steve Bellone, made a new agreement with the Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD), allowing them to patrol the LIE and Sunrise Highway. On April 1, 2013, County Executive Bellone established the TVB, in which all fines paid for traffic infractions — including those within the village’s jurisdiction — would go directly to the TVB instead of Village Court, which was established in 1990, or five years after the village was established. Meanwhile, the number of tickets adjudicated in Islandia Village Justice Court dropped precipitously from 9,178 in 2012 to 3,628 in 2013. This resulted in a decrease of 5,500 tickets and $1 million in lost revenue.

Mayor Dorman filed a $2 million lawsuit against the county on December 30, 2013, claiming the county was not following requirements of the State Environmental Quality Review Act when it failed to take a “hard look” at how villages such as Islandia — which depend on fines paid for traffic violations to operate much-needed services for its residents — would face negative economic impacts from the establishment of the TVB. As a result, the village lost $270,000 in ticket revenue.

In 2012, the village budgeted $536,000 for anticipated tax revenue to be collected from the tickets written to the village in 2013, but the amount collected was less than half of that because of the decrease in tickets given out by the SCPD. In order to close the budget shortfall, the mayor was forced to raise local property taxes by 72% in 2013.

“We are pleased to hear that the state Supreme Court allowed our lawsuit to proceed against the county,” Mayor Dorman said. “The county is desperate to raise tax revenue and is using the TVB to do this on the backs of Islandia Village residents. The TVB is little more than a money grab by a county going bankrupt. We look forward to litigating the issue on the merits and restoring these funds where they belong: with local taxpayers.”

For more information, call 631-348-1133, or visit www.newvillageofislandia.com.

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Incorporated in 1985, the Village of Islandia is home to over 3,000 residents and over 1,300 businesses. The village's proximity to New York City and the North and South shores of Long Island make Islandia an attractive destination for residents and businesses who may be thinking of relocating to Long Island. For more information, please visit www.newvillageofislandia.com