Fines and Fees in Operating Budget (Baltimore City Department of Finance)

Emma Best filed this request with the Department of Finance of Baltimore, MD.

It is a clone of this request.

Status
Completed

Communications

From: Michael Best

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to Maryland's Public Information Act ("PIA"), I hereby request the following records:

* A copy of any official calculations of revenue coming from court fees and fines between FY 11 and FY 15, or calendar year 2010 and calendar 2014 if your government operates on a calendar year budget cycle.

* Accounts Receivable databases that cover fines and fees paid for government services by individuals, rather than businesses. This would include Revenue Journals that cover such payments, as well as other financial statements that cover income from fees and fines.

* Any logs of appeals of fines that is kept by this agency, including, if the log has it, outcome of the appeal, payments made, and other fields that are present in such a log.

*A copy of contracts with any vendors that help manage the assignment, collection, or management of fees and citation information. This would include contracts with vendors that provide parking ticket software, for example, as well as court fees.

*The record layout for any databases that are used to track the assignment, collection, or management of fees, fines and citations. This would just be a copy of the header columns in these databases, and not the information in the databases.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that fees cannot be waived, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Michael Best

From: Hochstetler, Jeffrey

Dear Mr. Best,

In order to best respond to your request for public information, below, could you please specify what type of fines/fees you are interested in? That level of specificity will help guide our search for responsive documents, and likely obviate our need to assess fees. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Jeffrey P. Hochstetler
Assistant Solicitor
Baltimore City Law Department
100 North Holliday Street<x-apple-data-detectors://18/1>
City Hall<x-apple-data-detectors://18/1>, Suite 101
Baltimore, MD 21202<x-apple-data-detectors://19/0>
Phone: (410) 396-8186<tel:(410)%20396-3012>
Fax: (410) 576-7203<tel:(410)%20576-7203>
jeffrey.hochstetler@baltimorecity.gov<mailto:jeffrey.hochstetler@baltimorecity.gov>

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: The information contained in or attached to this e-mail message may be confidential, privileged attorney/client communication and/or work-product. It is intended only for the use of the individual or entity to which it is addressed. If you are not the intended recipient, or the employee or agent responsible for delivering the message to the intended recipient, you are notified that any distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please delete this message and notify the Baltimore City Law Department immediately at 410-396-8186.

From: Michael Best

Thanks for the follow up. I'm interested in fines and fees levied against individuals, rather than business: Fees for overdue payments, fines for speeding tickets, etc. If there's some discrete categories that you use to internally classify types of fees, or any guidance on how I could reduce the scope of this request, I would appreciate it.

Thanks again for the response and helping me clarify this request.

From: Hochstetler, Jeffrey

Dear Mr. Best,

Thank you for helping to clarify your request. As a point of further clarification, please note that fines levied against individuals fall into a number of categories. You can find many of these listed in the Baltimore City Code, Article 1, Sections 41-14 and 40-14, available at: http://archive.baltimorecity.gov/portals/0/charter%20and%20Codes/code/Art%2001%20-%20MayorCouncil.pdf. Please let us know which specific categories of fines you are interested in and we can determine the existence of corresponding records.

With regard to fees paid by individuals, please note that there are also a number of categories. Much if not all information associated with fees paid by individuals would constitute personal financial information, which the custodian is required to withhold pursuant to the Maryland Public Information Act, section 4-336 of the General Provisions Article of the Maryland Code. See Kirwin v. The Diamondback, 352 Md. 74 (1998). If, however, you can specify the type of fees you are interested, we can determine if corresponding records exist that do not contain personal identifying information.

Sincerely,

Jeffrey P. Hochstetler
Assistant Solicitor
Baltimore City Law Department
100 North Holliday Street<x-apple-data-detectors://18/1>
City Hall<x-apple-data-detectors://18/1>, Suite 101
Baltimore, MD 21202<x-apple-data-detectors://19/0>
Phone: (410) 396-8186<tel:(410)%20396-3012>
Fax: (410) 576-7203<tel:(410)%20576-7203>
jeffrey.hochstetler@baltimorecity.gov<mailto:jeffrey.hochstetler@baltimorecity.gov>

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: The information contained in or attached to this e-mail message may be confidential, privileged attorney/client communication and/or work-product. It is intended only for the use of the individual or entity to which it is addressed. If you are not the intended recipient, or the employee or agent responsible for delivering the message to the intended recipient, you are notified that any distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please delete this message and notify the Baltimore City Law Department immediately at 410-396-8186.

From: Michael Best

Thank you for your response. I understand the concern about personal information being in many of those records, and agree that concern is valid. I hope that the issue can be avoided, however, as I am interested in statistical information about the number and type of various fines and the revenue generated from them.

Are there any reports that describe this information on a statistical level, or that take a "bottom line" approach to describing the information?

Alternatively, many agencies records systems allow them to perform and print out search results and summaries while excluding the fields containing personal information. In this instance, I think that leaving the time, date, location and type of offense and fine would be sufficient for the analysis desired while still preserving the privacy and anonymity of the people who incurred those fines.

I hope this helps clarify my interest to reduce the scope of the request and address the privacy concerns raised in your letter.

--Michael Best

From: Hochstetler, Jeffrey

Mr. Best,

As I mentioned in my February 3rd email to you, below, fines levied by the City against individuals fall into a number of categories, and we would need to know the categories you are interested in in order to carry out a meaningful search for relevant records. You can find many of these fine categories listed in the Baltimore City Code, Article 1, Sections 41-14 and 40-14, available at: http://archive.baltimorecity.gov/portals/0/charter%20and%20Codes/code/Art%2001%20-%20MayorCouncil.pdf.

Sincerely,

Jeffrey P. Hochstetler
Assistant Solicitor
Baltimore City Law Department
100 North Holliday Street<x-apple-data-detectors://18/1>
City Hall<x-apple-data-detectors://18/1>, Suite 101
Baltimore, MD 21202<x-apple-data-detectors://19/0>
Phone: (410) 396-8186<tel:(410)%20396-3012>
Fax: (410) 576-7203<tel:(410)%20576-7203>
jeffrey.hochstetler@baltimorecity.gov<mailto:jeffrey.hochstetler@baltimorecity.gov>

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: The information contained in or attached to this e-mail message may be confidential, privileged attorney/client communication and/or work-product. It is intended only for the use of the individual or entity to which it is addressed. If you are not the intended recipient, or the employee or agent responsible for delivering the message to the intended recipient, you are notified that any distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please delete this message and notify the Baltimore City Law Department immediately at 410-396-8186.

From: Michael Best

Mr. Hochstetler,

As I mentioned in my February 16th email to you, it is possible to reduce the perceived scope of my request. For your convenience, I have attached a copy of that letter. I look forward to your swift response.

Thank you for your response. I understand the concern about personal information being in many of those records, and agree that concern is valid. I hope that the issue can be avoided, however, as I am interested in statistical information about the number and type of various fines and the revenue generated from them.

Are there any reports that describe this information on a statistical level, or that take a "bottom line" approach to describing the information?

Alternatively, many agencies records systems allow them to perform and print out search results and summaries while excluding the fields containing personal information. In this instance, I think that leaving the time, date, location and type of offense and fine would be sufficient for the analysis desired while still preserving the privacy and anonymity of the people who incurred those fines.

I hope this helps clarify my interest to reduce the scope of the request and address the privacy concerns raised in your letter.

--Michael Best

From: Hochstetler, Jeffrey

Mr. Best,

As I understand it, the Department of Finance does not maintain a record that contains a "bottom line" approach to general fee and fine information. Reports would likely need to be pulled for specific categories of fines or fees, and we would need for you to specify which fines or fees specifically you are interested in before determining the existence of responsive records.
Jeffrey P. Hochstetler
Assistant Solicitor
Baltimore City Law Department
100 North Holliday Street<x-apple-data-detectors://18/1>
City Hall<x-apple-data-detectors://18/1>, Suite 101
Baltimore, MD 21202<x-apple-data-detectors://19/0>
Phone: (410) 396-8186<tel:(410)%20396-3012>
Fax: (410) 576-7203<tel:(410)%20576-7203>
jeffrey.hochstetler@baltimorecity.gov<mailto:jeffrey.hochstetler@baltimorecity.gov>

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: The information contained in or attached to this e-mail message may be confidential, privileged attorney/client communication and/or work-product. It is intended only for the use of the individual or entity to which it is addressed. If you are not the intended recipient, or the employee or agent responsible for delivering the message to the intended recipient, you are notified that any distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please delete this message and notify the Baltimore City Law Department immediately at 410-396-8186.

From: Michael Best

To confirm, there are no contracts with vendors that help manage the assignment, collection, or management of fees and citation information, databases that are used to track the assignment, collection, or management of fees, fines and citations or Accounts Receivable databases that cover fines and fees?

If not, how is this information organized and tracked?

From: Hochstetler, Jeffrey

Mr. Best,

According to the Department of Finance, the City has a contract with Penn Credit, B50004069, for the collection of delinquent parking fines. You can find information on parking citations here: https://data.baltimorecity.gov/Transportation/Parking-Citations/n4ma-fj3m
Otherwise, the City does not have “contracts with vendors that help manage the assignment, collection, or management of fees and citation information.” As we have explained previously, any tracking and collection information pertaining to fines and fees is likely broken down by specific categories of fines or fees, and we would need you to specify which categories you are interested in before we can determine if records responsive to your request exist.

Sincerely,

Jeffrey P. Hochstetler
Assistant Solicitor
Baltimore City Law Department
100 North Holliday Street<x-apple-data-detectors://18/1>
City Hall<x-apple-data-detectors://18/1>, Suite 101
Baltimore, MD 21202<x-apple-data-detectors://19/0>
Phone: (410) 396-8186<tel:(410)%20396-3012>
Fax: (410) 576-7203<tel:(410)%20576-7203>
jeffrey.hochstetler@baltimorecity.gov<mailto:jeffrey.hochstetler@baltimorecity.gov>

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: The information contained in or attached to this e-mail message may be confidential, privileged attorney/client communication and/or work-product. It is intended only for the use of the individual or entity to which it is addressed. If you are not the intended recipient, or the employee or agent responsible for delivering the message to the intended recipient, you are notified that any distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please delete this message and notify the Baltimore City Law Department immediately at 410-396-8186.

From: Michael Best

Thank you for correcting your earlier explanation that "the City does not have 'contracts with vendors that help manage the assignment, collection, or management of fees and citation information'" to correctly reflect that at least one such contract does exist.

I am interested in all available categories.

Thank you for all of your help and y!

Michael Best

From: Hochstetler, Jeffrey

Mr. Best,

Please see page 55 of the Fiscal 2015 Budget Executive Summary for a breakdown of revenue by fines and forfeits: http://ca.baltimorecity.gov/flexpaper/docs/FY2015%20Executive%20Summary.pdf.

Additional budget documents are available publicly here: http://finance.baltimorecity.gov/PublicInformation/DocumentsReports.aspx

For other datasets related to fine revenues, please explore the Open Baltimore datasets here: http://finance.baltimorecity.gov/PublicInformation/DocumentsReports.aspx

Sincerely,

Jeffrey P. Hochstetler
Assistant Solicitor
Baltimore City Law Department
100 North Holliday Street<x-apple-data-detectors://18/1>
City Hall<x-apple-data-detectors://18/1>, Suite 101
Baltimore, MD 21202<x-apple-data-detectors://19/0>
Phone: (410) 396-8186<tel:(410)%20396-3012>
Fax: (410) 576-7203<tel:(410)%20576-7203>
jeffrey.hochstetler@baltimorecity.gov<mailto:jeffrey.hochstetler@baltimorecity.gov>

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: The information contained in or attached to this e-mail message may be confidential, privileged attorney/client communication and/or work-product. It is intended only for the use of the individual or entity to which it is addressed. If you are not the intended recipient, or the employee or agent responsible for delivering the message to the intended recipient, you are notified that any distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please delete this message and notify the Baltimore City Law Department immediately at 410-396-8186.

From: Michael Best

Hi,

Thanks so much for your help with this request! I really appreciate it.

Sincerely,
Michael Best

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