Opinion 91-61


This opinion represents the views of the Office of the State Comptroller at the time it was rendered. The opinion may no longer represent those views if, among other things, there have been subsequent court cases or statutory amendments that bear on the issues discussed in the opinion.


FEES -- Bail Moneys (1% fee to fund an approved county alternatives to incarceration service plan)
BAIL MONEYS -- Fees (1% fee to fund an approved county alternatives to incarceration service plan)

EXECUTIVE LAW, §261; GENERAL MUNICIPAL LAW, §99-m: The 1% fee on bail deposits imposed by General Municipal Law, §99-m, which is to be used to fund an approved county alternatives to incarceration service plan, should not be collected in a county not having such an approved plan.

We have been asked whether town and village justice courts must collect the additional one per cent (1%) fee on bail imposed under General Municipal Law, §99-m(2), as amended by Laws of 1991, chapter 166, §383, in those counties which do not have an approved alternatives to incarceration service plan as provided by article 13-A of the Executive Law (see §§261[1][e], 262).

Subdivision two of General Municipal Law, §99-m provides that "[a] town or village court shall be entitled to ... an additional fee of one per centum as provided herein" (emphasis added). Subdivision two further states that all fees on bail collected by a town or village court shall be paid to the State Comptroller, and that "the additional one per centum of such bail moneys shall be disbursed as provided in subdivision three of this section, and shall be used to fund the alternatives to incarceration service plan approved pursuant to article thirteen-A of the executive law for the county in which the town or village is located" (emphasis added). Subdivision three of section 99-m provides that the county treasurer shall be entitled to the additional 1% fee and states that the additional fee shall be deposited to the credit of the alternatives to incarceration service plan approved pursuant to article 13-A of the Executive Law for the particular county.

Although subdivision two provides, in part, that town and village courts "shall be entitled" to the additional 1% fee, this mandatory language must be read together with, and harmonized with, the entire amendment to General Municipal Law, §99-m, as well as its general intent (see McKinney's Consolidated Laws of NY, Book 1, Statutes §§98[a], 177[c]). In this regard, subdivisions two and three, as noted, require that the additional 1% fee ultimately be disbursed to the county treasurer for use only to fund an approved alternatives to incarceration service plan. The evident legislative intent of this amendment is to provide a dedicated revenue source for an approved plan. It follows, therefore, that when a particular county does not have such an approved plan, the town and village courts in that county should not collect the additional one per cent fee because the fee cannot be disbursed in accordance with the requirements of section 99-m.

January 8, 1992
Melvin I. Rosenblatt, Director
Justice Court Fund