Council will vote to override Mayoral vetoes of living wage legislation, the Responsible Banking Act and an amendment to the NYC Collective Bargaining Law.

Council will also vote to approve the Upper West Side Special Enhanced Commercial District.

New York, NY- Today, the City Council will vote to adopt the Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 budget, marking the 11th consecutive year that this Council and the Mayor have reached an on-time, balanced budget.

The Council will also vote to override the Mayor’s veto to require those who directly benefit from at least $1 million in City subsidies to pay their employees a living wage. Additionally, the Council will vote to override Mayoral vetoes on the Responsible Banking Act and an amendment to the New York City Collective Bargaining Law.

In an effort to preserve unique aspects of the community, the Council will vote to approve the Upper West Side Zoning change and the Zoning Text Amendment to create the Upper West Side Special Enhanced Commercial District. This change will preserve and strengthen the character of this neighborhood by capping the length of ground floor, street frontage for banks, new commercial spaces and residential lobby entrances on portions of certain streets.

FY 2013 budget

Following the budget agreement with the Mayor earlier this week, the Council will vote today to adopt the City’s budget for FY 2013.

On Monday, Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn said, “Our budget is a statement of our priorities and New York City’s children are our number one priority. I’m proud of this agreement that will give more children greater opportunities to learn. We’re a city that refuses to balance its books by hiking taxes. We’re a city that believes core services cannot be sacrificed even in tough economic times.”

The budget safeguards early childhood education and after school programs and avoids a reduction in teachers and the layoff of teacher aides. It also establishes funding for an anti-gun violence task force, supports essential senior services, prevents firehouse closures and protects city services including public parks, pools and libraries.

“Throughout the budget process, we heard from New Yorkers by way of public testimony, phone calls, e-mails, petitions and letters,” said Finance Committee Chair Domenic M. Recchia, Jr. “They told us they wanted core services maintained. Most of all, hard-working parents wanted a safe place for their children to go to during the day or after school. We heard them loud and clear and made the tough, responsible decisions that will not only ensure a continued quality of life for New Yorkers, but also guarantee that we can maintain that quality of life in the years to come. I thank Speaker Quinn for her leadership and for the trust she put in me, my Council colleagues for advocating so passionately for their constituents, the Council’s Finance Committee for their tireless work and dedication, and Mayor Bloomberg for his commitment to working with us toward adopting this budget.”

Mayoral Veto Overrides

The living wage bill vetoed by the Mayor would require those who directly benefit from at least $1 million in City financial assistance to pay their employees a wage of $10 an hour with health care benefits or $11.50 an hour without. The legislation aims to provide a living wage for 75 percent of all hourly jobs on economic development projects, including retail tenant jobs. In order to monitor the City’s progress towards that objective, the bill includes mandatory wage reporting obligations.

“I was disappointed when Mayor Bloomberg vetoed this bill that will raise the standard of living for a group of working New Yorkers in a way that is fair and does not overburden businesses,” said Speaker Quinn. “When we use taxpayer dollars for any purpose, we should expect it will result in the maximum public good to the city. And, if we provide a taxpayer subsidy in exchange for jobs, we should expect jobs that pay a better wage than the minimum wage. The Council stands by this legislation, and my colleagues and I look forward to overriding the Mayor’s veto.”

“I am gratified that the Council will override the Mayor’s ill-advised veto of this precedent setting legislation. The time has come to insist that those who receive taxpayer subsidies meet their responsibilities to pay decent wages and benefits to their employees,” said Council Member G. Oliver Koppell.

The Council will also vote to override the Mayor’s veto of the Responsible Banking Act. This piece of legislation will help to ensure that banks are meeting the needs of city residents and communities by identifying financial services that are most needed and where.

For the first time, this legislation will require the assessment of community banking needs across the city and establish an advisory board to evaluate how well banks are serving the city’s neighborhoods based on several factors, including small business lending and financing for affordable housing and economic development project services in low- and moderate-income areas.

“As chair of the Community Development Committee, I understand that community development requires investment from all sectors, including banks. Financial institutions that benefit from doing business with the city should make a sincere effort to meet the banking and credit needs of the communities that make our city vibrant and diverse,” said Council Member Al Vann. “The Responsible Banking Act creates a fair, non-regulatory method for identifying community needs, encouraging banks to meet them and using information about those efforts to inform the city’s choices. This is an effective, collaborative means of achieving meaningful goals and I look forward to the override vote and to full implementation of the Act’s provisions.”

Lastly, the Council will vote to override a Mayoral veto to amend the NYC Collective Bargaining Law. This legislation will clarify the waiver language when a contract dispute arises between the City and a unionized City employee. Modifying the current language will explain that the waiver only applies to contract claims, allowing other claims to be brought separately.

“When a unionized worker goes to his or her union with a contract dispute, they are required to go into binding arbitration with the city’s independent Office of Collective Bargaining. This requires the member and the union to sign a waiver pledging that the dispute will be resolved by arbitration and not the courts. However, in recent years, this statute has been interpreted to mean that these same workers have effectively waived all of their rights, forfeiting their ability to bring non-contract related matters to court. With this bill, we clearly define what a unionized worker is and is not waiving in order to protect their constitutional rights to take non-contractual matters to court. This is a matter of common sense and labor justice for millions of our City’s unionized employees,” said Council Member James Sanders. “I’m proud to stand with my colleagues to send a clear message to the Mayor’s office: do the right thing for working New Yorkers.”

Upper West Side Special Enhanced Commercial District

The approval of the Upper West Side Zoning change and the Zoning Text Amendment will create the Upper West Side Special Enhanced Commercial District. The Upper West Side is densely residential and lacks commercial zoning on its avenues. As a result, this area of the city has less commercial square footage per person than other neighborhoods. Additionally, the area has seen an increase of banks with substantial ground floor presence, squeezing the space for long-time local businesses.

The Upper West Side Zoning change and the Zoning Text Amendment will assure a certain level of protection to small “mom and pop” businesses that characterize this neighborhood by capping the length of ground floor commercial street frontage for banks on portions of Broadway, Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues at 25 feet for any single user. The approval will also require a minimum number of stores per block on Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues. Existing banks and other commercial spaces in use that exceed the new requirements may remain.

“Old-time West Siders as well as young professionals have written and e-mailed, and stopped me on the street, to say how badly the neighborhood needs the protections contained in the creation of the Upper West Side Special Enhanced Commercial District,” said Council Member Gale A. Brewer. “My office has worked continuously over the past 11 years to help city agencies better understand the needs of small business owners. This zoning change is simple and flexible, and it would still enable businesses to expand while helping to preserve ‘mom and pop’ stores that characterize the history and vitality of the neighborhood. I commend Amanda Burden and the Department of City Planning for their leadership on this issue. With the support of Community Board 7 and my colleagues, we can now move forward in implementing this comprehensive and workable plan for the preservation and healthy development of the Upper West Side.”

“I applaud Council Member Brewer’s diligent leadership in effecting the Upper West Side Zoning change that will preserve the historic landscape of the neighborhood,” said Council Member Inez E. Dickens. “Furthermore, I am pleased that I, along with Council Member Mark-Viverito were able to work in partnership with Council Member Brewer on this important issue that will impact all New Yorkers. Of critical concern to me, is the small business community. This zoning change will help current, small business owners to remain at their present locations and will also allow aspiring entrepreneurs opportunities to launch their enterprises.”

“This zoning change will go a long way to safeguard the small business character of the Upper West Side and maintain the neighborhood’s trademark vibrancy and diversity,” said Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito. “These protections are long overdue, as many long-time local businesses have been unfairly pushed out by chains and banks. With the adoption of this re-zoning, we can prevent large businesses and commercial banks from continuing to lease exceedingly large ground floor spaces, depriving our ‘mom and pop’ stores from an opportunity to serve the neighborhood and thrive. I thank Council Member Gale Brewer who has been a tireless leader in bringing this re-zoning to passage. I also thank Speaker Quinn, Land Use Chair Leroy Comrie, Zoning and Franchises Chair Mark Weprin, Council Member Inez Dickens, City Planning Commission Chair Amanda Burden and all of her staff, and of course Community Board 7 and all of the local residents who spoke out on the need for this re-zoning.”

“These restrictions on storefront size will help promote vibrant, diverse commercial activity on the Upper West Side,” said Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises Chair Mark Weprin.