$500 million emergency plan will allow for critical repairs to facilities damaged by Hurricane Sandy

Council will vote on Chelsea Market Expansion, creating 1,200 local jobs and ensuring 150 permanently affordable housing units

New York, NY – Today, the City Council will vote to approve $500 million in emergency capital funding to make vital repairs to public schools and public hospitals damaged by Hurricane Sandy. The storm wrecked public school and hospital buildings throughout the city, with the most severe damage in the Rockaways, Staten Island and South Brooklyn.

The Council will also vote to approve the Chelsea Market Expansion Plan, allowing this iconic community asset to expand in a way that retains its current structural features while keeping it in character with the surrounding neighborhood.

Emergency Capital Funding

The Council will vote on a Capital Budget Modification to allocate funds needed for Hurricane Sandy-related emergency repair work, allowing for expedited repairs of public school and hospital facilities severely affected by the storm.

The plan calls for an appropriation of $200 million for the Department of Education (DOE) and $300 million for the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) to repair extensive damage to school and hospital buildings. The repair needs include structural restorations, new boilers, new electrical systems, roofs repairs, flood remediation and more.

“Hurricane Sandy caused significant damage throughout the city and the emergency funding the Council will approve today is a demonstration that we’re taking this seriously,” said Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “This funding will help to repair facilities that are urgently needed so that patients have a place to be cared for, and so our students will have places to learn. I want to thank the Mayor, Comptroller and my Council colleagues for working together to swiftly approve this vital funding.”

“In response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, it is absolutely essential that we work quickly to restore our hospitals and schools. These facilities provide services to thousands of New Yorkers every day and are the bedrock of our communities. The modification to the capital budget to make these urgent repairs is necessary for the recovery process and is an investment in the future and stability of New York’s hardest hit neighborhoods,” said Finance Committee Chair Domenic Recchia.

“This city and its volunteers have done a tremendous job of responding to the needs of those of us who have been impacted most by Sandy. Undoubtedly, there is still much to do and this is another great example of prioritizing resources to speed up the process of helping us rebuild our lives. Giving the affected communities back their public schools and hospitals will greatly help bring back a sense of normalcy and stability to our most vulnerable- our children, our elderly, our sick and our disabled. Our children are especially eager to get back to their schools so that they can resume their routine and feel safe again. These challenging times serves as a reminder that we are all fellow New Yorkers united in the cause of rebuilding and protecting our city,” said Education Committee Chair Robert Jackson.

“The devastation caused by Sandy will take years for residents to recover from,” said Deputy Majority Leader Leroy Comrie. “The emergency capital funding the City Council is approving today will help to expedite necessary repairs for schools and hospitals, which are vital to ensure those most affected by the storm will not fall behind on their education or are unable to receive medical treatment.”

The funding will be an addition to capital funds in the current year (Fiscal Year 2013) Capital Commitment Plan.

Chelsea Market Expansion

By listening to input from the community and recognizing that the design initially submitted was unacceptably out of character for the Chelsea neighborhood, the Council was able to address numerous concerns about the original proposal for Chelsea Market’s expansion. As a result, the modified plan:

Permanently preserves the Market’s original façade
Ensures that 75 percent of the ground floor concourse will be permanently dedicated to food use, while creating new space for food start-ups
Provides important support for two valuable educational programs on technology training and wellness
Creates a Community Advisory Board to review construction schedules
Establishes a future study on the expansion of the Special West Chelsea District
Delivers 50 new permanent Affordable Housing units – and 100 long-awaited units previously promised when the Special West Chelsea District was created in 2005. This ensures that 40 percent of the total units at the Robert Fulton Houses site will be affordable to those making less than 80 percent of the Average Median Income (AMI).
“The Chelsea Market we know and love today will be able to grow in a way that preserves its current facade and keeps it in scale with the surrounding neighborhood,” said Speaker Quinn. “Over the last five years, the community has engaged in discussions about the future of the Chelsea Market complex that have been both thoughtful and constructive, highlighting concerns that needed to be addressed. I want to thank everyone who contributed to this important discussion, and I believe we have found a way to preserve a treasure of this neighborhood well into the future.”

“As we continue to look for ways to help small businesses and families who are in need of a home, the expansion of Chelsea Market will further accomplish these goals. With 150 new permanent affordable housing units, and guaranteed new space for food start-ups, the integrity of the Market will be intact while it will continue to be a space for people in the community to enjoy,” said Council Member Comrie. “I would like to thank Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Comptroller John Liu, Council Member Robert Jackson, Council Member Domenic M. Recchia, and the rest of my colleagues for supporting these pieces of legislation.”

Tax Fixing Resolutions

On June 29, Governor Cuomo signed the 1.5% Cap Bill into law. Today, the City Council is required to amend tax fixing resolutions passed when the Fiscal Year budget was adopted to reflect this new 1.5% Class share cap.

The Council vote will help minimize the volatility of property tax rates. The property tax system requires the recalculation for the four different classes of properties every year as set by State law. Nearly every year, the Council asks the State to modify this calculation to help keep rates from changing as much as they would otherwise, thus slowing down increases.

Without this action by the Council, the average homeowner would have paid about $150 more in property taxes this year.