If Assemblyman Dov Hikind gets his way, Sanitation enforcement agents may soon begin brushing up on their shutterbug skills.
The Borough Park-based assemblyman recently told the Brooklyn Eagle that he plans to introduce a bill that would require city Sanitation agents to snap a photo when writing a ticket – in order to prove that the violations issued are indeed valid. Hikind says his constituents are complaining that the tickets are too difficult to contest under the current system.
From the Eagle:
“Anyone who has ever received a violation knows it always comes down to their word against the agent’s word,” Hikind said. “With photographic evidence, there can be no dispute as to the guilt or innocence of a property owner,” he said.
Under the bill, each sanitation enforcement agent would provided with a mobile device that will allow the agents to take photographs of violations. The photos, which would be stamped with the date and time, would be uploaded by the agent to a central database. The agent would also upload the summons to the data base.
Hikind admitted that he was moved to take legislative action after he received numerous complaints from constituents who received sanitation tickets for alleged violations that were next to impossible to fight.
The proposal aims to put a stop to the he-said, she-said nature of DOS administrative hearings.
Hikind reminded reporters that, at $100 a pop, sanitation tickets can be an expensive proposition for homeowners. The report cites City Council figures from fiscal year 2011, during which 262,426 violations were issued.
While the assemblyman acknowledged equipping Sanitation agents with mobile devices to document their work would require the city to shell out some cash, he said that the bill would save money in the long run.
“This legislation will not only protect home and business owners, but it will reduce paperwork and the cost of adjudication proceedings,” Hikind said.
Potential supporters of the bill include Bay Ridge resident and retired police officer Jack La Torre – who spent months fighting a bogus ticket his mother received for not covering garbage cans. La Torre says his mother, who is 91 years old, doesn’t use cans.