Questions & Answers
Here are some answers to questions we frequently hear from Town of Binghamton residents. If you don't find an answer to your question here,
please don't hesitate to contact us for assistance.
> What if I misplaced the original fine notice?
If you are suspended or have a pending suspension, be sure to call the Court Clerk to confirm the amount due. You may need to include the Suspension Termination Fee. Payment authorization forms listing improper amounts will not be processed.
> Can I pay by credit card over the phone?
Yes. You can call 1-888-912-1541.
> Can I pay with a personal or business check?
> How do I make my fine payment to the Court?
Personal checks are not accepted: Personal/business checks will be returned.
Cash / Money Order must be made payable to Town of Binghamton Court (no additional fees). You may pay by cash or money order during regular office hours or by mail. Mail your payment to: Town of Binghamton Town Court, 279 Park Avenue, Binghamton, NY 13903.
Visa/MasterCard - (A 2.99% service fee will be assessed). You may pay by credit card during regular office hours or following the instruction on your fine notice to submit a credit card payment by mail.
Online: www.paycourtonline.com (a convenience fee will apply)
By telephone: 1-888-912-1541 (a convenience fee will apply)
Drop Box: There is a drop box located in the lobby of the Town Hall and one located outside the front door of the Town Hall for your convenience. A money order is the safest option when dropping payment into one of our boxes. Always include your name, date of birth, and case # if possible when submitting your payment so that your payment is applied to the proper account.
> What is the Driver's Responsibility Act (DRA), and do I have to pay that fee? Even if I am not a NYS driver?
Go to NYS Department of Motor Vehicles website at www.nysdmv.com for a clearer explanation of that fee, or call 1-518-402-2851.
Yes, you must pay that fee according to the instructions you received or outlined on that site. It is a separate fee imposed by NYSDMV and is apart from the fine/surcharge you must pay to the Court. Yes, even if you are NOT a New York State licensed driver, you will have to pay that fee.
> I paid my fine to the Court, why did I get another notice to pay an additional $300 or more?
That notice came from the NYS DMV and is separate from any fines or surcharges paid to the Court. The fee is called Driver's Responsibility Act (DRA). Go to www.nysdmv.com for any qeustions pertaining to that fee.
> My license is suspended or is going to be scofflaw suspended. What do I do?
Depending on the reason for your suspension, you must either pay the fine/surcharge due or appear in Court.
If your license is suspended, and the effective date is July 5, 2009, or before, you will be required to pay a Suspension Termination Fee of $35 per suspension.
For suspensions that go into effect on or after July 6, 2009, you will be required to pay a Suspension Termination Fee of $70 per suspension.
The Notice of Suspension from NYSDMV will give further information regarding this fee, or you can go to their website at www.nysdmv.com Submit your identified payment as outlined in "How do I make a fine payment?" Send the Notice of License Suspension Order for endorsement and verification of the suspension date. Call the Court Clerk if you do not know the total amount due or for information on scheduling a new Court date.
> What is the effect of a conviction or points on my out-of-state license?
To find out information regarding your license status or the effect of a conviction, contact or visit your licensing State Department of Motor Vehicles.
> How do I contact the NYS DMV?
You can visit their website at: www.nysdmv.com
General Telephone Assistance (DMV Call Centers)
DMV Call Center Representatives are available weekdays (except state holidays) between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. (Eastern Time).
From area codes 315, 518, 585, 607 and 716, call 1-518-486-9786
> How would a conviction or points affect my NYS license?
> How many points are assessed? (point assessment chart as established by NYSDMV)
> How do I contact the Broome County Public Defender's Office?
Phone: (607) 778-2403
Broome County Public Defender's Office
PO Box 1766
Binghamton, NY 13902
George Harvey Justice Building
45 Hawley Street - 6th Floor
Binghamton, NY 13902
> How do I file for a small claim or eviction?
In order to file a small claim, the party you are filing against must live, work, or have a place of business in the Town of Binghamton. They must receive their mail in the Town of Binghamton. You must have the exact mailing address (no PO Box is acceptable).
The allowable maximum amount for a claim is $3,000. For a claim up to $1,000., the filing fee is $10. For a claim over $1,000., the filing fee is $15.
For more information, you can pick up a small claims booklet from the Court.
Tenants and Landlords
For small claims and evictions, you can go to: http://tenant.net/court/howcourt/sclaim.html to download Landlord/Tenant forms.
> Is there an alternative to filing a Small Claim?
Yes, you can contact ACCORD (A Center for Dispute Resolution, Inc.). This is a mediator service which is free. In Broome County, you can call (607) 724-5153 or e-mail to email@example.com
> What if I am summoned to be a witness?
If you receive a summons to be a witness, you should contact the Broome County District Attorney's office at (607) 778-2198 or 778-2423 for further information.
> What if I am summoned to be Juror?
If you receive a summons to be a juror, you should contact the Broome County Commissioner of Jurors at (607) 240-5900 or the Town of Binghamton Court at 772-0357, ext. 19 for further information.
> What other violations within the Town of Binghamton are brought before the Court?
All violations of the Town of Binghamton Code including zoning, noise ordinance, property maintenance, and dog problems are heard by the Town Court.
> How much is the filing fee for an eviction?
> How do I contact the Broome County District Attorney's office?
Broome County District Attorney's Office
45 Hawley Street - 4th Floor
PO Box 1766
Binghamton, NY 13902
> What are Pre-Trial and Trial Conferences?
The Town of Binghamton Court holds pre-trial and trial conferences on the 4th Tuesday of every month. The Broome County District Attorney's office will attempt to resolve any discrepancies in the case and negotiate a plea or set the matter for trial. On the pre-trial and trial dates, defendants will appear with or without an attorney.
> Do I need a lawyer to appear in court with me?
Although you are not required to have an attorney, it is not recommended that you proceed to trial without the aid of Counsel.
> What if I missed my court date?
Call the court immediately. You may be subject to a license suspension or a warrant will be issued for your arrest.
> What is a supporting deposition?
A supporting deposition is a more detailed account of the ticket you were issued. If you received an electronically generated ticket, you may have been handed the supporting deposition at the same time you were handed your ticket from the officer.
> How do I answer my traffic ticket?
Every motorist receiving a ticket must respond to the ticket.
If the charge(s) are NOT misdemeanors, you can either appear on the date listed on the ticket, or you can sign the back and enter your plea of either guilty or not guilty. You then mail it to the court at the following address:
Town of Binghamton Court
279 Park Avenue
Binghamton, NY 13903
NOTE: Review your ticket(s). To plead guilty, complete Section A of your ticket. To plead not guilty, complete Section B of your ticket.
Upon a plea of guilty, the judge will impose a sentence which could consist of a fine. Also imposed would be the NYS mandated surcharge. You will be notified by mail of the amount due and the process to make the payment.
Upon a plea of not guilty, you will be scheduled for a pre-trial conference. Once your plea of not guilty is received and accepted by the court, you will receive the notice scheduling this conference.
If you have been charged with a misdemeanor, you must appear in person on the date and time listed on the ticket.
Why isn't the fine listed on my ticket? Because the judge will assess the penalty. Once a plea of guilty has been entered, the judge determines the sentence and in most cases assesses the fine on each ticket filed in the court. Once assessed, a Notice of Fine will be mailed to you with the amount due and the instruction for payment.
> What is the physical address of Jackson Park (a.k.a. Town Park) on Jackson Road?
3317 Jackson Road
Binghamton, NY 13903
> What is the physical address of the Town of Binghamton Town Hall?
279 Park Avenue
Binghamton, NY 13903
> What is the difference between the City of Binghamton and the Town of Binghamton?
The City of Binghamton and the Town of Binghamton are two completely separate municipalities. The City of Binghamton is generally what people think of as "downtown" while the Town of Binghamton is located approximately two miles south of the downtown area and continues south to the State of Pennsylvania line. The Town of Binghamton is bordered by the Town of Vestal to the west, the City of Binghamton to the north, the Town of Conklin to the east, and the State of Pennsylvania to the south.
Water and Sewer
> Can I shower or bathe during a "Boil Water Advisory?"
Yes. Adults and teens may shower with untreated water as long as no water is swallowed. Older children could also be given a shower with a hand held showerhead, avoiding the face. Younger children should be sponge-bathed instead of bathing in a tub because they are likely to swallow tub water.
> If there is a "Boil Water Advisory" in effect, what does that mean?
When a "Boil Water Advisory" is in effect, it means you must boil your water because the water's current condition is not up to normal standards. Specifically, you need to bring your tap water to a rolling boil, boil for one minute, then cool before using. You can also use bottled water certified for sale by the New York State Dept. of Health. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, washing dishes, brushing teeth, and preparing food until the advisory is lifted. It is OK to shower when a "boil water advisory" is in effect, but you should not ingest the water.
> Will watering my lawns increase my bill?
Yes, but it depends on how long you water, what time of day you water, by what means you water it (through a sprinkler system, through an irrigation system), etc. We can tell you that there will be an increase. If you must water your lawn, we suggest you water very sparingly, and we suggest you water at night (after the sun goes down) on a timer for a very short time.
> Why do the water/sewer rates periodically increase?
Since the Town of Binghamton purchases water directly from the City of Binghamton and disposes of the sewer through the Binghamton-Johnson City Joint Sewage Treatment Plant, we have to pay whatever rates these two facilities set.
> If I fill my pool using municipal water, can I get a break on the sewer portion of my bill?
No. We have found that the cheapest way for municipal water/sewer users to fill a pool is with a hose from your outside spigot. Even though you are charged a sewer use fee based upon the units of water you have used, it's such a small amount in comparison to what you will pay if you purchase water through another source. We have found that it generally costs about four times more to purchase water through a pool company or tanker truck. If you would like an estimate of how much it will cost to fill your pool, you'll need to find out how many gallons your pool holds, then call Becky at 772-0357, ext. 10. She'll be happy to calculate the cost for you.
> Can I fill my swimming pool with the Town's fire hydrant?
> How can I be sure I don't have a leak in my house?
All homes in the municipal water/sewer district are equipped with a water meter. If you suspect you have a leak, shut all water sources off in your home. Then, look at your water meter to see if the small red diamond shaped dial is moving. (This dial is a "low flow indicator.") If the dial is moving, it means there is still water flowing through your meter. Next, you'll want to check your toilets. There is a valve, generally behind the toilet, that you can shut off. Once that valve is shut off, check your meter again. If the meter has stopped turning, you know the problem is with the toilet. If, however, the dial continues to turn, you'll need to go to the next toilet, and continue the same process. If the dial is still turning after everything has been eliminated, you may want to contact a plumber.
> Will a running toilet cause my water bill to be high?
Yes. Depending on the severity of the leak, it's possible for a water/sewer bill to double, triple, or even worse.
> Is there fluoride in Town water?
Yes. The City of Binghamton treats the water with fluoride.