The Mandate: The authorities having control over a volunteer fire department may establish an emergency rescue squad within the department and further authorize the squad to provide both emergency and general ambulance services. However, the statute creating this authorization, General Municipal Law § 209-b, prohibits any fees or charges for rendering such services. Municipal emergency medical and general ambulance services provided under other sections of law (e.g., General Municipal Law § 122-b, which governs those municipalities with paid fire departments) are not subject to such a restriction.
Read more: Inability to Impose Fees for Volunteer Emergency Rescue and Ambulance Services
The Mandate: Currently, written reports generated by a police or firefighter investigation of an automobile accident are available to insurance companies at little or no charge. The Freedom of Information Law sets a maximum charge of $0.25 per page for a document that is released to a member of the public and alternatively provides that, if a requested document can be electronically provided, it must be. These insurance companies rely heavily on police and fire departments for investigative work, reporting, interviewing witnesses, etc. They also have enormous assets and generally are extremely profitable, a direct result of quick responses by police and fire departments. While municipal residents generally provide financial support for the operation of these departments through the payment of taxes, non-residents do not, yet they represent a significant percentage of drivers involved in at-fault accidents.
Read more: Inability to Impose Fees for Police and Firefighter Investigations
Criminal enforcement can be one of the most cost-effective tools that local governments have to address building code and property maintenance violations. However, cities and villages are currently not permitted to levy unpaid building code and property maintenance fines on municipal property tax bills. Consequently, the criminal fines imposed by local courts do not serve as a deterrent to the illegal activity, because the individual, limited liability company or corporation that owns the property, often cannot be found to collect the fine. The methods for collecting default judgments and unpaid court fines can be very cumbersome when dealing with absentee landlords and limited liability entities.
Read more: Enforcement of Unpaid Building Code Fines
The Mandate: Many cities and villages in New York State employ a Vital Records Registrar who issues birth and death certificates. Historically, the statutory amount which may be charged by local offices for vital statistics documents was equal to the $10 charge imposed by the state for similar records. In 2003, the state's fee was raised to $30 without a corresponding change for municipalities. Since then, the State Legislature has enacted similar increases for certain counties including Monroe, Onondaga, Chemung and Tompkins, and the City of Oswego. However, the remaining local governments are prohibited from charging more than $10 for these documents.
Read more: Disparity in Charges for Vital Records