A change to the ways East Hampton Town ordinances are prosecuted would be a significant improvement over the antiquated procedure in use now, which requires a mountain of paperwork and takes officers out of the field. Under the present rules, only parking and other very minor tickets can be handled by mail or online; everything else has to be handled in town court. This leads to a sizable backlog, particularly as violations pile up in the summer and can take well into the fall to be dealt with. The shift could come early next year, once the town board decides what kinds of offenses could take a fast track to resolution.
One agency that would benefit from this would be the Marine Patrol, which has to keep about a third of its personnel tied up preparing documentation for court. With many of the town’s ordinance citations going to weekend and other short-term visitors, it is sensible to provide a way for them to make good without being forced to return from far afield for a two-minute court appearance. Additional town revenue, though not the motivation for the change, could be a result of increased officers’ presence on the streets and beaches. In an increasingly online world, being able to pay fines remotely makes sense from all sides.
Taming the paperwork beast may have the added benefit of improving adherence to the regulations. Anyone at all familiar with the code knows well that it is ignored in very visible ways on a daily basis, from Montauk to Wainscott. By making the citation process simpler, residents should be able to expect improvement in this regard