A three-month amnesty program run by the DOF cleared more than $150 million in penalties owed by New Yorkers due to fines from various city agencies. Proposed by City Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland and agreed to by the City Council and Mayor Bill de Blasio, the September-to-December fine forgiveness program was aimed at addressing some of $1 billion in debt owed to the city and is being heralded as a success by officials involved.
Most of the fines were issued by the Department of Sanitation, the Department of Buildings, and the Fire Department. The amnesty program processed 120,000 violations. During the program, New Yorkers owing money for eligible violations who missed their related hearing and had their fines sent to the Environmental Control Board for additional penalties could pay their original fine and be excused both interest and penalty. When an individual or business is fined and does not attend a hearing or pay within the required time period, the ECB adds a penalty and oversees interest. Those who had not yet had their fines referred to the ECB for penalty and interest could pay 75 percent of the fine and be cleared.