Council to Vote on Prohibiting Conversion Therapy and Amending the Commercial Rent Tax

Council will also vote on criminal justice legislation addressing criminal warrants and erroneous rap sheets as well as the rezoning of El Barrio/East Harlem and zoning application at Bedford-Union Armory site

City Hall – Today, the New York City Council will vote on legislation prohibiting conversion therapy in New York. The Council will also vote to amend the commercial rent tax (CRT). Next, the Council will vote on legislation continuing the Council’s commitment to criminal justice reform, including legislation to rectify erroneous criminal records and the Speaker’s legislation to address outstanding criminal warrants. The Council will also vote on the participation of minority-and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs) in construction projects receiving tax benefits. In addition, the Council will vote on a bill on requiring the distribution of information about summer meals. The Council will then vote on a bill requiring the collection of noise mitigation plans. Next, the Council will vote on legislation concerning the definition of harassment followed by legislation imposing crane modernizations. The Council will then vote on a bill requiring registration of lift directors and sets forth the qualifications and duties of lift directors. The Council will also vote on the establishment of a speculation watch list. The Council will then vote on a package of legislation on improving services for HRA public assistance clients followed by legislation increasing oversight, training and feedback for ACS’ child welfare and preventive services programs. In addition, the Council will vote on a bill creating online public searchable database of social adult day cares. The Council will also vote on a bill creating a Committee on City Health Services. The Council will vote on bills increasing civil penalties for street construction, maintenance, repair, obstruction and closure violations, repairing ponding conditions and notifying sidewalk construction permit applicants about scheduled tree planting. Finally, the Council will vote on a proposal to rezone and advance the community plan of East Harlem and create affordable housing on the site of the Bedford-Union Armory in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

Prohibiting Conversion Therapy

The American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of disorders in 1973. There is no reputable national medical or psychiatric association that believes homosexuality is a disorder that can be cured, and many believe attempting to do so can be harmful – particularly to minors. In February 2015, a New Jersey judge ruled that describing homosexuality as a curable illness constitutes a “misrepresentation” in violation of the state’s consumer protection statute. In June 2015, a New Jersey jury found that a gay-conversion therapy group committed consumer fraud and unconscionable business practices by promising to change the sexuality of several men, who were its clients.

Introduction 1650-A, sponsored by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, would prohibit any person from charging consumers for services intended to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Our great country is land of the free meaning ALL individuals should be able to live without fear of coercion into change into someone they are not. Conversion therapy is barbaric and inhumane, and right here in New York City, we will continue to be the model for acceptance across the nation as we ban conversion therapy once and for all,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

“The time to pass the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) is now. Transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) New Yorkers have waited far too long for the basic protections GENDA offers. No one should have to fear being fired from their job or face eviction from their homes simply for who they are.  With a White House largely hostile to human rights, the need for this law has never been greater.   I thank Speaker Mark-Viverito and my colleagues for standing with me in calling upon the State to seize the opportunity to make GENDA a reality.

I am proud to stand with Speaker Mark-Viverito and my colleagues in calling upon Congress to pass and the President to sign the Equality Act. Despite significant progress, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community remains uncovered by basic civil rights protections throughout much of the country.  Discrimination is anathema to everything our country stands for and must be challenged at every turn.  By passing this resolution, the city has made a powerful statement that our country should continue to uphold its promise of equality and justice for all,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm.

Amending the Commercial Rent Tax (CRT)

The commercial rent tax (CRT) is imposed on businesses located in Manhattan south of 96th Street with annualized base rents of $250,000 or more per year, with a partial credit for rents between $250,000 and $300,000 per year.

Introduction 799-B, sponsored by Council Member Daniel Garodnick, would establish a Small Business Tax Credit (“the credit”) against the Commercial Rent Tax. The credit would provide complete tax relief for taxpayers who report incomes of $5 million or less and who pay less than $500,000 per year in rent. Taxpayers who report incomes of $5 million or less and who pay between $500,000 and $550,000 per year in rent, and those taxpayers who report incomes between $5 million and $10 million and who pay less than $550,000 per year in rent would receive a partial, sliding scale credit. Taxpayers who have incomes of more than $10 million would not receive any credit. The credit would be available beginning July 1, 2018.

“Manhattan’s small business owners have had to make too many sacrifices just to keep their livelihoods open. Intro 799-B would alleviate the financial burden of having to pay a rent tax on top of having to pay the rent itself for the borough’s businesses. Despite vast changes in the Manhattan real estate market and economic landscape over the last 15 years, the commercial rent tax has not been updated to reflect the realities on the ground. So this legislation reflects a long overdue step to provide relief to those businesses who have been struggling for far too long. I thank my colleague, Economic Development Chair Daniel Garodnick, for his leadership on this issue and advocating for our small businesses. I look forward to seeing the passage of this bill,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

“With storefront vacancies soaring and retail in crisis, the City Council is today taking a crucial step to support Manhattan’s small businesses. For the first time since 2001, we are reforming the unfair commercial rent tax.  By doing so, we are throwing a lifeline to businesses that make our neighborhoods special and provide jobs to New Yorkers from all five boroughs. This relief could not come soon enough, and I join the 41 other co-sponsors of this legislation in thanking Speaker Mark-Viverito for her support,” said Council Member Daniel Garodnick.

Introduction 1376-A, sponsored by Council Member Helen Rosenthal, would require the Department of Finance to issue an annual report on the commercial rent tax. Such report would include information on the number and location of premises and the amount of the tax paid, by base rent range and industry; the number of taxpayers and the amount of the tax paid, by base rent range and industry; the number of taxpayers who paid the tax on more than one property, by base rent range and industry; the total amount of tax collected, by base rent and industry; the number of taxable premises and taxpayers who received the Small Business Tax Credit, by base rent range and industry; the total amount of the tax collected in the prior ten tax years and the average tax liability per premises and taxpayer; and a comparison of the total amount of the tax collected in the prior ten tax years and the average market value of commercial property in Manhattan.

“The Commercial Rent Tax has been an added burden for small businesses struggling to survive in the heart of Manhattan, below 96th Street. Although it most directly impacts neighborhoods like mine on the Upper West Side, the CRT’s negative consequences have affected all New Yorkers, as the middle-class jobs that small businesses provide help the entire city prosper. Now, after a long, hard fight led by Council Member Dan Garodnick, businesses paying less than $500,000 in annual rent will finally be excluded from the CRT. My accompanying legislation would require the Department of Finance to issue an annual report on the impact of the CRT so that we can craft a long-term solution using more detailed data. Let’s pass this bill as well, and take another meaningful step toward protecting our small business community,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal.

Introduction 1750-A, sponsored by Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, would provide critical property tax information to new homeowners throughout the City. Currently, the Department of Finance must publish a property tax informational brochure for class 1 and class 2 properties describing the way those properties are valued and assessed, explaining how those values affect property tax bills, providing information about property tax exemptions, and setting forth the timeline of relevant property tax deadlines. This local law would require that, whenever a document transferring ownership of a one-to-four family home or a residential cooperative and condominium is recorded with the City Register or Richmond County Clerk, DOF would have to mail or email a copy of the property tax informational brochure to the new homeowners.

“As we continue working to make sure more New Yorkers are able to accomplish their dream of homeownership, we want to ensure they understand the importance of property taxes. Thanks to this legislation, the Department of Finance will provide first-time homeowners with a tax informational brochure that will explain in plain and simple language how property taxes are calculated, how to take advantage of available exemptions and abatements, as well as homeowners’ right to appeal an assessment. I would like to thank Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito as well as the co-sponsors of this bill for their support and leadership on this issue,” said Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland.

Criminal Justice Reforms and Transparency

Criminal justice reform is a hallmark of the Speaker’s tenure, and the Council will pass 3 bills that address two crucial issues: rectifying erroneous criminal records, and addressing the roughly 1 million outstanding criminal warrants for low-level offenses. Speaker Mark-Viverito called for the purge of outstanding criminal summons warrants older than 10 years old in her 2016 State of the City Address, and earlier this year over 600,000 of these warrants were dismissed. However, there are still roughly 1 million active summons warrants.

Introduction 1723-A, sponsored by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, would require the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice to make efforts to address outstanding criminal warrants and to issue an annual report related to these activities. It also requires the Department of Correction to respond to certain requests for records relevant to erroneous warrants within three business days.

“Making New York City a fairer and just place for all people has been the guiding force of this City Council since I first became Speaker. Intro 1723-A would ensure that the City continues to take steps to avoid needless criminal warrants, particularly for low level offenses, and help anyone with an erroneous warrant quickly rectify it. This bill would add to the progress already made by this Council, notably the Criminal Justice Reform Act, which is projected to reduce the number of summons warrants by over 60,000 per year. As my Speakership draws to a close, I am proud to continue this Council’s work in reforming our criminal justice system,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

Criminal justice advocates estimate that roughly 30% of criminal records contain errors. These errors can have devastating impacts on the lives of those attempting to gain employment, housing, or other benefits.

Introduction 1636-A, sponsored by Council Member Corey Johnson, would require the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (“MOCJ”) to take a variety of actions to address issues related to erroneous criminal and juvenile records. It would also require the New York City Police Department to quickly respond to records requests necessary to rectify erroneous records.

“There are countless ways a criminal record can impede a person’s personal and professional growth, so it is critical that these records are held to the highest standards of accuracy and be maintained beyond reproach. This bill will establish a system to allow both members of the public and nonprofit organizations to rectify erroneous criminal records. I’d like to thank Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Public Safety Chair Vanessa Gibson for their leadership and my fellow Council Members for supporting this bill,” said Council Member Corey Johnson.

The New York City Police Department already reports quarterly on their use of criminal summonses. However, there are thousands of criminal summonses issued by up to 10 other City agencies, and there is no current public reporting on these summonses.

Introduction 1712-A, sponsored by Council Member Rory Lancman, would require the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice to issue an biannual report comprehensively addressing criminal summonses issued by all City agencies.

“There is an astonishing lack of data provided to the public on the number and frequency with which city agencies take criminal enforcement action. If the NYPD is required to report data on its arrests and summonses, then other city agencies must be required to do the same. Passage of this legislation will greatly increase transparency and ensure that city agencies are held accountable,” said Council Member Rory I. Lancman.

Governing Participation MWBEs in Construction Projects

Introduction 1400, sponsored by Council Member Helen Rosenthal, would amend Local Law 67 of 2008, governing participation of minority-and women-owned business enterprises (M/WBEs) in construction projects receiving benefits under the Industrial and Commercial Abatement (ICAP) program, which provides abatements for property taxes for periods of up to 25 years.

Specifically, Introduction 1400 would:

  • Reduce the project cost threshold requiring ICAP applicants to directly solicit M/WBEs to work on a project from $1.5 million to $750,000.
  • Require applicants to inform the Department of Small Business Services (SBS) after it has received a final ICAP award of contracting and subcontracting opportunities at the applicable site as they arise.
  • Require all applicants to submit certifications of compliance with M/WBE program requirements to SBS, in addition to the Department of Finance, along with the final application for benefits.

“Nurturing our MWBEs should be a top priority for our city. Intro 1400 is a significant step toward this goal by making the Industrial & Commercial Tax Abatement Program a better resource for MWBEs in the private sector construction industry. The bill is a win-win. As the City helps to spur renovation of privately owned buildings, Intro 1400 will both increase MWBEs’ access to contracting opportunities, and strengthen accountability requirements for recipients of City tax breaks. I want to thank the Department of Small Business Services for their tremendous partnership on this issue,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal.

Distributing Information about Summer Meals

Introduction 461-A, sponsored by Council Member James Vacca, would require the Department of Education (DOE), by June 1st of each year (beginning in 2018), to post and distribute information about the availability of summer meals, including where and when such meals are available and eligibility requirements for such meals. The information would be required to be posted on DOE’s website, the website of any city agency collaborating with DOE to provide meals, and the 311 website; and also distributed to council members, borough presidents, community boards, community education councils, parent associations, and parent teacher associations.

“New York City provides free summer meals to children under 18 at a number of locations. The summer meals program is integral to ensuring that children from lower income families have access to nutritious food, even when school is out. However, information regarding the summer meals program is sometimes released too late in the school year, which can lead to confusion amongst parents and decrease participation.  Introduction-461 will ensure the Department of Education publishes information on summer meals in a timely and easily accessible manner, which will undoubtedly make it easier for families to participate,” said Council Member James Vacca.

Collecting Noise Mitigation Plans

Introduction 1300-A, sponsored by Council Member Daniel Garodnick, would require the Department of Environmental Protection to collect all noise mitigation plans from construction sites and make those plans publicly available on the DEP website. The bill would also require the conspicuous posting of noise mitigation plans on the exterior of construction sites.

“Noise mitigation plans should not be treated like state secrets. The public already has access to numerous permits posted outside construction sites, and they should be able to view noise mitigation plans — which directly impact their quality of life — too. My bill closes this loophole and will hopefully bring greater peace of mind to New Yorkers living in our concrete jungle,” said Council Member Daniel Garodnick.

Defining Harassment

Introduction 1721-A, sponsored by Council Member Jumaane Williams, would amend the definition of harassment to include acts or omissions related to violations of the construction code.

“Tenant harassment can take on many forms. Unscrupulous landlords are constantly devising new methods of abusing their power over tenants, and our laws need to keep up with their actions. This bill will help prevent these landlords from using construction projects in an attempt to force tenants from their homes, and from lying about the construction or about the safety of a unit. The fight against tenant harassment is ongoing and ever-changing, but my colleagues and I are committed to winning that fight on behalf of all New Yorkers,” said Council Member Jumaane Williams.

Introduction 152-C, sponsored by Council Member Brad Lander, would create a certificate of no harassment (CONH) pilot program, which would require certain buildings to apply for a CONH before obtaining Department of Buildings (DOB) approval of permits of other construction documents for certain, covered work. Buildings where a full vacate order has been issued and buildings where there has been active participation in the alternative enforcement program (AEP) and buildings where there has been a previous finding of harassment will be required to apply for the CONH for covered work. In districts that have undergone city-sponsored neighborhood-wide rezonings and community districts that indicate significant distress based on numerous factors, including changes of ownerships, certain buildings that meet a Building Qualification Index (BQI) will also be required to apply for the CONH for covered work.

If harassment is found after an investigation by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and community groups, where designated by HPD, the owner must provide affordable housing in the building. Within such building, at least 25% of the total residential floor area of such building must be affordable, and if it is a new building, then 20% of the total floor area of a new building on the lot containing the building must be affordable. One-third of the affordable housing units will be made available at 40 percent of the area median income (AMI), one-third of such units within such building will be available at 50 percent of the AMI and one-third of such units will be available at 60 percent of the AMI.

“The ‘Certification of No Harassment’ (CONH) legislation will better protect tenants from the cycle of harassment. Unfortunately, for unscrupulous landlords in NYC – especially in neighborhoods where rents are rising – harassing tenants is part of the business plan. While we have taken significant steps to prevent harassment through legislation, proactive enforcement, and providing legal counsel, harassment of rent-regulated tenants remains a significant problem. The exampled CONH program will help prevent this cycle of abuse and will keep more New Yorkers in their homes. I’d like to thank Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Chair Jumaane Williams for their leadership on this at the Council, the Coalition Against Tenant Harassment and Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development who have lead a successful campaign to expand the CONH program, all the members of our Working Group which included a wide range of stakeholders, and finally the Mayor’s Office and HPD team, who were critical in driving this collaborative Working Group process forward,” said Council Member Brad Lander.

Imposing Crane Modernizations

Introduction 443-A, sponsored by Council Member Ben Kallos, would impose age limitations on cranes used in New York City.

“Safety should be front and center on constructions sites in New York City. Pedestrians should feel confident about the cranes working above them just as construction workers should be safe as they do their job. By forcing City inspectors and construction companies to phase out cranes after 25 years the Crane Modernization Act will serve to keep pedestrians and constructions workers safe at all times by preventing accidents caused by older less technologically advanced equipment,” said Council Member Ben Kallos.

Introduction 1403-A, sponsored by Council Member Jumaane Williams, would require the installation of anemometers on cranes.

“Making our construction sites safer, for workers and for pedestrians, is an effort that we must aggressively pursue on many fronts. We have addressed safety training, we continue to address the culture of safety, but additionally, we need to address technological failures and opportunities. The bills passed by myself and Council Member Kallos today will help ensure that cranes are modern, safe, and equipped with the necessary technology to be as safe as possible,” said Council Member Jumaane Williams.

Registering Lift Directors

Introduction 1431-A, sponsored by Council Member Barry Grodenchik, would require registration of lift directors and sets forth the qualifications and duties of lift directors.

“In recent years there have been too many crane accidents in New York City.  These crane accidents have led to the unfortunate deaths of both crane operators and pedestrians on the streets.  I am proud that the New York City Council has passed my crane lift director legislation, which will ensure that cranes in New York City will be operated by lift directors who have completed specific training prescribed by the Department of Buildings.  As our city grows and renews, we need to continue to ensure the safety of the men and women who build our city as well as pedestrians who make their way through our city streets and sidewalks,” said Council Member Barry S. Grodenchik.

Establishing a Speculation Watch List

Introduction 1210-A, sponsored by Council Member Ritchie Torres, would require the Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) to create a publicly available speculation watch list of rent-regulated buildings where, based on several factors, tenants might be at risk of being displaced. Buildings on the watch list may be prioritized for HPD preservation programs or initiatives. An example of a factor indicating a displacement risk would be a low “capitalization rate,” which indicates that a developer purchased a property for more than market value and might suggest that the developer plans to displace current tenants to transition the property to a more lucrative use.

“This new, innovative legislation will ensure that the City and HPD will have the tools necessary to monitor buildings where potential displacement of residents may occur. It will help us better understand how predatory equity is impacting our City and how to better protect tenants. I look forward to a continued partnership with HPD and advocates to further expand the tools we have available to prevent financial speculation of buildings that can lead to tenant displacement,” said Council Member Ritchie Torres.

“If landlords have a business plan that virtually guarantees harassment of tenants, we will make sure every New Yorker is prepared. With our predatory equity watch list, we are putting bad actors on notice, empowering tenants, and helping to keep families in their homes,” said Council Member Daniel Garodnick.

Improving Services for HRA Public Assistance Clients

Introduction 1461-A, sponsored by Council Member Stephen Levin, would require the Human Rights Administration/Department of Social Services to conduct customer service and professionalism training for all employees that interact with members of the public and work in Job Centers or Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Centers, where individuals may apply for public assistance benefits.

Introduction 1635-A, sponsored by Council Member Corey Johnson, would require the Department of Social Services to create and issue a job center “appointment receipt” for all individuals who visit job centers. The appointment receipt would include any documents received by the agency from the visitor, the reason for the visit, and a time stamp indicating the time and date a visitor was present at the job center. The bill would require the department to post to its website a monthly report of the average constituent wait times at each job center. The bill would further require the department to display in job centers information on how to make a complaint and would require the department to issue a tracking number to track the status of a complaint.

“For New Yorkers who rely on our city’s safety net of social programs to keep a roof over their head and food on their table, the path to stability and self-reliance is full of pitfalls. This bill will consolidate all the information that a person needs from their visit to an HRA job centers onto one appointment receipt, putting everything in one easy-to-find location. I’d like to thank Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and General Welfare Chair Steve Levin for their leadership and my colleagues for their support for this legislation,” said Council Member Corey Johnson.

Increasing Oversight, Training and Feedback for ACS’ Child Welfare and Preventive Services Programs

Introduction 1374-A, sponsored by Council Member Stephen Levin, would provide quarterly reports on the utilization of preventive services. The proposed bill would require the reports to include the following: (1) the number of families and the number of children who received preventive services and the average length of enrollment, disaggregated by the type of program; (2) the number of open slots available for preventive services, disaggregated by program type; (3) the number of children who entered foster care and had been receiving preventive services; (4) the number of families and the number of children receiving preventive services after reunification from foster care; (5) the number of families and the number of children who received preventive services while under the supervision of the ACS family services unit monitoring; (6) and lived in homeless shelters and received preventive services. The first report would be due March 1, 2018, and reports would be due 30 days after the end of each calendar quarter.

Introduction 1598-A, sponsored by Council Member Stephen Levin, would require ACS to ensure that all families receiving preventive services are provided with an annual survey regarding their experiences with preventive services. The surveys would ask questions about the family’s interactions with caseworkers, the type and quality of services, and suggestions for how services may be improved. Proposed Int. 1598-A would require ACS to report to the Council within six months of the effective date of the local law on its plan for the implementation of the surveys. The bill would require ACS to begin administering surveys 18 months after the effective date of the local law, and would be required to report aggregate data from the surveys to the Council and post it on their website on an annual basis, beginning six months after the first administration of the survey.

“When it comes to our safety net, the programs that care for New Yorkers in their greatest time of need, we must push ourselves to always do better. That’s the central theme behind this package of bills. The client service training bill, Intro 1461, will equip our frontline staff with the necessary tools to provide outstanding service. New Yorkers deserve the highest standard of service, especially when they are at their most vulnerable. Building on this, Intros 1598 and 1374, will ensure that the quality of wrap-around and preventive services meets the bar our city’s children and their families expect and deserve. I thank my Council colleagues for their support and I look forward to forging ahead with these necessary reforms,” said Council Member Stephen Levin.

Introduction 1590-A, sponsored by Council Member Fernando Cabrera, would require ACS to require all individuals providing preventive services to attend trainings on an ongoing basis and no less than once per year. The bill would allow ACS to determine the content of the trainings. Because New York State law also requires preventive services workers to receive mandated reporter training, Proposed Int. 1598-A would also specify that the proposed training requirement would be in addition to any other training required by law or regulation for individuals providing preventive services.

“Preventive services are major responsibility for ACS and it is critical to ensure that the individuals providing these services are adequately trained.   Intro 1590-A requires ACS to provide training to all individuals providing preventive services on an ongoing basis and no less frequently than once per year.  This training will equip preventive services workers with the skills they need to meet their responsibilities and result in shortening the time a child needs to be in foster care, reducing the likelihood that a child discharged from foster care returns to foster care and keeping families together,” said Council Member Fernando Cabrera.

Introduction 1607-A, sponsored by Council Member Deborah Rose, would require ACS to complete a study on child protective caseloads and workloads. The study would include an examination of key milestones and tasks required in a child protective investigation, an analysis of how certain factors impact the complexity of a case, an examination of the relationship between the aforementioned data, an assessment of best practices in caseload and workload standards, and recommendations for how ACS will implement best practices. The study would be required to be completed by March 31, 2019 and would be due to the Speaker of the Council by September 30, 2019.

“One of the most sacred duties of government is the protection of the most vulnerable of our society, our children. It is therefore critically important that the agency tasked with this responsibility, the Administration for Children’s Services, has the absolute best processes in place to safeguard and secure their wellbeing. This bill authorizes ACS to conduct a study that will analyze the number of children per case, prior ACS involvement of the family, the relationship between size of family and prior ACS involvement to the complexity of a case — and then assess best practices and make recommendations based on this data to improve child safety and wellbeing outcomes. It is my hope that the data gleaned from this study and the recommendations made will enable caseworkers to better carry out their mission of ensuring the safety of our children,” said Council Member Deborah Rose.

Introduction 1609-A, sponsored by Council Member Rafael Salamanca, would require ACS to submit to the Council and post on its website an annual report regarding fatalities of children who were known to ACS. The bill would require the reports to include the following information: (i) the number of fatalities of children known to ACS for the previous year; (ii) the cause of death in the reported fatalities; (iii) the age, gender, race and ethnicity of the children; and (iv) a summary of any case practice findings and agency changes made in response to child fatalities in the previous year.

“This bill simply provides the public with annual information to assist in holding ACS accountable. With the agency’s mission so important and the population they serve so vulnerable, I hope this will only help us to better serve New York City children. I appreciate the support of my colleagues,” said Council Member Rafael Salamanca.

Creating Online Public Searchable Database of Social Adult Day Cares

Introduction 1278-A, sponsored by Council Member Margaret Chin, is a continuation of the Council’s efforts to ensure that the rapidly growing number of social adult day cares (SADCs) operating in the City are providing proper services to vulnerable senior citizens such as those suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia. In 2015, the Council passed Local Law 9, which required all SADCs operating in the City to register with the Department for the Aging (DFTA) and report certain information to DFTA. This bill would require DFTA to create an online public searchable database of all SADCs in the City, making relevant information collected during the registration process available to the public. The database would be searchable by the name under which the SADC registers, by the name under which it does business, by borough, and by zip code. The database would also include the address, telephone number, and website (if any) of the SADC; the corporate structure and ownership of the SADC; the days and hours of operations of the SADC; the year in which the SADC was established; and the name, address and telephone number of any managed long term care company with which the SADC has a formal agreement. The bill would also require that the database indicate the number of notices of violation issued to a SADC and the outcome of any adjudication conducted. The year and nature of the violation would also be included in the database. In addition, the bill would allow an individual to electronically submit complaints about an SADC to the SADC ombudsperson (a position created by Local Law 9).

“Caregivers are the everyday heroes who work day in and day out to provide quality care to our most vulnerable New Yorkers, and social adult daycares offer caregivers a well-deserved respite to take care of their own needs. However, with little oversight, some unscrupulous providers have opened programs that endanger vulnerable seniors, threaten the funding of good senior centers and daycares, and open the door to Medicaid fraud. Intro 1278-A would push for deeper transparency in the system by requiring the Department for the Aging to create an online database of the social adult daycares in the City, track the violations issued at any given daycare, and allow individuals to directly submit their complaints to a DFTA SADC ombudsperson. Social adult daycares provide a vital service in our City, and this legislation can help identify bad actors in the system and allow families to make more informed decisions for caregivers and their loved ones,” said Council Member Margaret Chin.

Creating a Committee on City Health Services

Introduction 973-B, sponsored by Council Member Corey Johnson, would create a Committee on City Health Services to review data and other information on the health of New Yorkers, and the effectiveness of health services provided by city agencies. It would issue biennial reports on how to utilize city resources more effectively and efficiently in the provision of health care services. The Committee would consist of representatives from City agencies that directly provide, or contract with outside entities to provide, healthcare services, as well as additional appointees of the Mayor and Speaker who represent stakeholders from around the City.

“In a City of over 8.5 million people, managing the community-level health needs of New Yorkers can be an overwhelming task. This bill will establish a Committee on City Healthcare Services, which will review community-based health indicators in New York City and evaluate how different needs can be addressed by city health care services.  I’d like to thank Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for her leadership, the members of the Health Committee for their counsel, and my fellow Council Members who have lent their support to this legislation,” said Council Member Corey Johnson.

Increasing Civil Penalties for Street Construction, Maintenance, Repair, Obstruction and Closure Violations

Introduction 955-A, sponsored by Council Member Daniel Garodnick, would increase the maximum civil penalties set out in the Administrative Code for street construction, maintenance, repair, obstruction, and closure violations.“Too often, never-ending utility repairs turn New York City’s streets into the wild wild west. For the safety of pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists, utility companies must get our streets back in good repair as soon as possible — and these higher fines for street cutting violations will induce them to do so,” said Council Member Daniel Garodnick.

Repairing Ponding Conditions

Introduction 1251-A, sponsored by Council Member Alan Maisel, would require the Department of Transportation to prioritize repairs of ponding conditions on roadways.

Notifying Sidewalk Construction Permit Applicants about Scheduled Tree Planting

Introduction 231-A, sponsored by Council Member James Vacca, would require the Department of Transportation to notify applicants for sidewalk construction permits to consult the Department of Parks and Recreation’s website for information on scheduled tree planting.

“One of the many ways the Department of Parks and Recreation makes our City into a more vibrant, healthy, and sustainable place is by planting trees along sidewalks and streets. Yet, while trees have significant positive impacts on the city’s environment and streetscape, it is also important to consider how properties in front trees might be negatively impacted. Property owners are responsible for maintaining the sidewalk that abuts their property; on several occasions, I have heard of homeowners applying to DOT for a permit and paying for sidewalk repairs to be done, only to then find out Parks will be tearing up their newly finished sidewalk in order to plant a tree. This entire process must be improved and my bill will ensure property owners are properly notified,” said Council Member James Vacca.

 The City Council will also vote on the following land use item(s)…

 Rezoning of El Barrio/East Harlem, Manhattan

 The New York City Council will vote on an agreement secured by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Member Bill Perkins to rezone El Barrio/East Harlem and secure investments for many priorities of the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan. The comprehensive proposal reflects years of community-based planning aimed at addressing pressing neighborhood challenges, including the preservation and creation of affordable housing, encouraging local hiring and preserving the vibrant cultural heritage of El Barrio/East Harlem, all while substantially reducing the height and density originally proposed by the Department of City Planning earlier this year. Speaker Mark-Viverito spearheaded the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan Steering Committee, which led a robust and inclusive process in which 1,500 participants defined community needs and developed a ground-up vision for the future of El Barrio/East Harlem.

Creation of Affordable Housing at Bedford-Union Armory Site in Crown Heights, Brooklyn

The Council will vote on a significantly modified application to create new affordable housing on the site of the Bedford-Union Armory in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. The vastly modified agreement, secured by Council Member Laurie Cumbo, emphasizes community investments, local jobs, and deep levels of affordability for neighborhood residents, all without the development of market-rate, luxury condominiums, as laid out in the original proposal.

“Today, I am proud to announce my support for a dramatically revised Bedford Union Armory project, which will provide the greatest level of low-income and affordable housing that the Crown Heights community has seen in decade. I fought to remove 48 luxury condominiums, deepened the bands of affordability by securing approximately 250 housing units for low-income and formerly homeless families – quadrupling the affordable housing that was proposed in the original plan, with at least $1.25 million annually in programmatic engagement at the Armory. Additionally, I am proud that a dozen not-for-profit organizations and athletic providers will have a new home at the Armory alongside anchored tenant, Brooklyn Medical Plaza, who will provide quality affordable healthcare for the uninsured. I thank the developer, my colleagues in government, the Administration for their willingness to renegotiate this proposal to best serve Crown Heights and ensure this development is fully aligned with the needs of our community,” said Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo.

Zoning Application of East River Fifties, Manhattan

The Council will vote on an application which has been years in the making and led by a coalition of community groups to update the zoning to ensure new development in the Sutton Place neighborhood is more consistent with the context of that community.  The zoning change that the Council is passing would limit the development of very tall, very thin buildings and instead require buildings to be developed which are more in character with this historic neighborhood.

Construction of New School in Sunnyside, Queens

The Council will vote on a site selection for a 700-seat middle school in Community School District 30. The new school will replace a vacant garage facility in Sunnyside, Queens. The school will include a cafeteria, gymnasium, science labs, music and art rooms, as well as an outdoor recreation area. The school will be built in consultation with New York State Historic Preservation Office and community members to ensure that the new school reflects the historic character of the Sunnyside Gardens community which was designed by the renowned architect and urban planner, Clarence Stein. The site selection of the new school is in response to existing overcrowding in Community School District 30 middle schools, and advocacy efforts by local parents and community stakeholders for a new middle school in the Sunnyside community.

 

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