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$45M in new Nassau fees projected for '13

Nassau residents and businesses will have paid nearly $100 million by year's end in new and increased fees that have taken effect since 2011, according to the county legislature's budget office.

Nassau raised or implemented user fees on traffic tickets, tax lien settlements and emergency ambulance transport.

The nonpartisan Office of Legislative Budget Review said Nassau collected an estimated $22.5 million in new fees in 2011 and $28.3 million last year. The office projects that taxpayers will pay $45.1 million in new fees this year.

Some fees have yet to be implemented because of pending certifications, administrative delays or staffing issues. If all were put in place, the total cost could be as much as $56.5 million in 2013, the report said.

"These fees are for basic services," said Legis. David Denenberg (D-Merrick), who requested the report. "They hit Nassau residents across the board."

Brian Nevin, spokesman for county Executive Edward Mangano, a Republican, said new fees on businesses such as scrap and precious metal dealers "help protect residents while making certain the . . . [businesses] pay the costs associated with . . . investigations and enforcement."

An administrative fee for county traffic and parking tickets that went from $15 to $30 in 2012 generated $10.7 million last year and will bring in a projected $14.4 million in 2013.

Earlier this year, the price for filing documents with the county clerk doubled to $150. The fee is expected to generate $9.7 million this year, the report said.

The surcharge on ambulance rides raised $6.2 million in 2012 and is projected to bring in $8.1 million in 2013. The fee is $999 for basic life support transportation and $1,199 for advanced life support service.

Thomas Suozzi and Adam Haber, the Democratic candidates competing to challenge Mangano in November, called the increases unnecessary. "He's essentially given Nassau residents a 20 percent tax increase," Suozzi campaign manager Danny Kazin said of Mangano.

Said Haber spokesman Galen Alexander: "Call it a fee or call it a tax, politicians are taking more money from Nassau's working families."

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