Late-payment penalty is exorbitant
I am not one of those Sleepy Hollow residents who complain about local taxes. I routinely vote in favor of property tax and other increases, because I care about maintaining the village's unique character.
Nonetheless, I do become concerned when Sleepy Hollow begins to use executive, undemocratic processes to arbitrarily increase fees and penalties to exorbitant levels.
Case in point: Vehicle registration sticker fees were due on April 30 of this year. I paid mine nearly a month late and I accept responsibility for my failure. However, I do not accept that the penalty for late payment was to double the fee, in my case raising the amount from $135 to $270. Yes, the village lost a small amount of interest due to my lateness. Yes, they have a vested interest in ensuring that payments are made on time. But the $135 in penalties that I was forced to pay were entirely disproportionate to the damage suffered by the town.
I don't think my local government officials have been paying particularly close attention to the mounting number of lawsuits around the country that target municipalities and states which have instituted abusive fees and penalties, not in response to any reasonable economic damages, but rather solely for purposes of shoring up local government finances -- outside of any democratic process -- for purposes of covering budget shortfalls.
I can only hope that Sleepy Hollow will recognize the error of its ways, however unlikely it is that I will ever see any partial refund of the outrageous penalty that I was forced to pay for temporary loss of revenue related to my somewhat late payment.
Timothy B. Hailey