WSHU (NPR Fairfield, CT)  |  October 26, 2017  |  Nicole Shannon

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Suffolk County is being sued in state Supreme Court over $66 million in county fee hikes. The Government Justice Center, the nonprofit that filed the suit, says the recent fee increases on real estate transactions are “unauthorized taxes.”

Between 2015 and 2016, Suffolk County added a new $300 fee for mortgage recordings. The county also increased its “tax map verification fee” from $60 to $200.

This lawsuit, filed Tuesday, asks the court to strike down those fees and refund the $300 fee on mortgage recordings.

Suffolk County Legislator Rob Trotta says he and other lawmakers warned against these fee increases.

“During the debate on this, I actually brought up that it was illegal, I gave them the case law that it was illegal, I gave them the New York State comptroller’s opinion that it’s illegal.”

The county is struggling to close its $160 million budget deficit, and the Government Justice Center, which includes members of conservative government watchdog groups, says these fees are being raised for the general fund.

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