DOF Begins ECB Judgment Amnesty Program
The Department of Finance (DOF) has officially launched the “Forgiving Fines: ECB Amnesty Program.” The program started on Sept. 12, 2016, and continues through Dec. 12, 2016. Local Law 45, which was signed by Mayor de Blasio in April, authorized the DOF to create this program for owners with outstanding Environmental Control Board (ECB) judgments. The three-month program allows participants to resolve violations they received from New York City’s Departments of Sanitation, Buildings, Transportation, Fire, Landmarks, Parks, or other City of New York agencies and which are now in judgment.
To be in judgment means the city has taken the legal step of filing a public record of your liability in court for the entire amount due, plus additional interest. The court record gives the city the authority to take your real and personal property under certain circumstances to pay the liability. Only judgments filed in court prior to June 12, 2016, are eligible for the program.
Penalties and Violations
The amnesty program covers penalties and violations. Below are some of the most common violations:
- Illegal Posting of Handbill or Notice
- Snow, Ice, or Dirt on Sidewalk
- Improper Storage of Receptacles
- Improper or Misused Recycling Containers
- Improper Disposal of Trash or Recyclables
- Failure to Comply With an Order of the Commissioner
- Failure to Properly Place Recyclables for Collection
- Work without a Permit
- Failure to Conduct Required Inspections and Tests
- Failure to Submit Affidavits, Design/Installation or Other Documents
- Vending Merchandise or Food in a Restricted Area
For penalties, it covers defaulted violations and non-defaulted violations. Defaulted violations occur when an owner neglects to attend the ECB hearing. Defaulted violations include a base penalty, a default penalty, and interest accrued. The amnesty program will give owners in this circumstance an opportunity to pay only the base penalty, waiving the default fee and interest.
For non-defaulted or adjudicated violations, the amount due under the amnesty program will be 75 percent of the penalty and a waiver of all accrued interest. Adjudicated violations occur when a judgement has been determined by the ECB.
For violations that require a Certificate of Correction, owners must rectify with the DOF as well as the issuing agency in order to participate in one of the above scenarios. These violations are classified as a compliance violation and will be listed as “Schedule B.” Schedule B violations are violations with the DOB or the FDNY as opposed to schedule A violations such as sanitation violations that require only payment. For Schedule B violations, you must pay at least 25 percent of the amnesty amount due for every Schedule B violation that you owe by the end of the program. You then have six months from your initial payment date to correct the violation and pay the remaining balance. You may also choose to pay the entire resolution amount before the end of the program and still have six months to correct.
It’s important to note that to receive amnesty, you must pay and admit liability for all of your violations that are in judgment on or before Dec. 12, 2016. Any payments for eligible violations will not be accepted if all eligible judgments are not paid during the program. By selecting and paying for your violations online via the Amnesty CityPay application, you admit liability. The CityPay application can be found at http://a836-citypay.nyc.gov/citypay/ECB-Amnesty#!/name-address-form.
Paying the Violations
People or business owners named on violations can search for their violations and pay the amount due under the amnesty program. To pay these reduced amnesty amounts, you must pay the full amount for all the eligible judgments you owe by Dec. 12, 2016.
You are now able to search for and pay for your violations in judgment by visiting the Amnesty CityPay application at http://a836-citypay.nyc.gov/citypay/ECB-Amnesty#!/name-address-form. Also, if you are unable to find all of your outstanding judgment violations using a single search, you may continue to search and pay for your multiple violations throughout the three-month program. The DOF will send you a list of additional violations if you have neglected to pay for all of the violations listed under your name when you perform a search. You must resolve and admit liability for all the debt you owe to receive amnesty. If you fail to do so, you will not be eligible for the reduced amnesty amounts due on any of the violations, including the violations for which you are making payment.
You can call (212) 440-5300 or visit http://www1.nyc.gov/site/finance/about/contact-by-email/contact-amnesty-program.page for any questions on ECB Amnesty or Amnesty-eligible violations. You can also contact 311 and ask for the NYC Department of Finance Collections Division for questions about the Forgiving Fines program.