Council also passes legislation to improve design of ranked choice voting ballots, reduce catalytic converter theft and establish program to reduce flooding through expanded access to backwater valves
City Hall, NY – Today, the Council voted on legislation to expand career pipelines into the municipal workforce. One bill requires the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) to establish a civil service ambassador program that provides educational materials to populations that would benefit from joining the civil service and learning about the its examination process. The second bill would create a public service corps program that offers internships at various city agencies. These programs are efforts to recruit New Yorkers of diverse backgrounds to share in the benefits of joining public service.
In addition, the Council voted on legislation to improve the design of ranked choice voting ballots for accessibility, establish a program to reduce thefts of catalytic converters, and create a financial assistance program to reduce the costs of purchasing and installing backwater valves. The Council also voted on resolutions calling on the state to allow commuter vans to accept hails from prospective passengers in the street, create a plan that commits to meeting Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) targets, and ensure that appropriations of funds to New York City from the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022 are commensurate with the City’s contribution to state tax revenue.
“Civil service careers have long been a pathway to economic stability for New Yorkers,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “Our city can expand these opportunities to reach underrepresented New Yorkers who traditionally lack access and build a robust civil service pipeline. With the passage of legislation to create a civil service ambassador program and Public Service Corps, bills that I discussed during my State of the City address, the Council is taking critical steps to advance a more equitable city for all. I thank Civil Service and Labor Committee Chair Carmen De La Rosa and Government Operations Committee Chair Sandra Ung for their leadership and my Council colleagues for their support.”
Committee on Civil Service and Labor
Introduction 658-A, sponsored by Council Member Carmen De La Rosa, would require the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) to establish a civil service ambassador program that will provide presentations and educational materials to high schools, universities, juvenile justice facilities, foster care programs, and other populations that would benefit from joining civil service and learning about the process of taking civil service examinations.
Resolution 310-A, sponsored by Council Member De La Rosa, calls on the State Legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign S.3062C/A.7503, which would raise the minimum wage annually by a percentage based on the rate of inflation.
“We are facing significant staffing shortages in the municipal workforce and creating a more robust framework for the civil service examinations could help alleviate the gaps that have put additional stress on our city agencies,” said Council Member Carmen De La Rosa. “The civil service exam programs also serve as an opportunity for underserved populations, diversification of our municipal workforce, and ensuring that the city remains a competitive employer. Increased access to and knowledge of civil service examinations and a call for improved minimum wage requirements are initial but large strides and this Council is committed to strengthening employment opportunities that have profoundly positive impacts on the lives of our working-class New Yorkers.”
Committee on Governmental Operations
Introduction 698-A, sponsored by Council Member Sandra Ung, would require the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) to operate a Public Service Corps program that offers internships at various city agencies. DCAS would be required to make efforts to recruit students from diverse backgrounds to participate in the program. In addition, the bill would require DCAS to report annually regarding the Public Service Corps program, including information regarding DCAS’ recruitment efforts, DCAS’ efforts to identify internships at a broad range of City agencies, the number of participating students, their demographic information, and the agency at which they interned.
“We should be making every effort we can to recruit the best and brightest students across the five boroughs to work for the City of New York, and that begins by giving them the opportunity to experience working in city government through internships at a broad range of city agencies,” said Council Member Sandra Ung. “My bill to codify the Public Service Corps within the Department of Citywide Administrative Services will allow us to review the city’s recruitment efforts and the effectiveness of the program, including ensuring that we are attracting students from a diverse range of backgrounds. Through the Public Service Corps, we can identify and develop the people that will become the future leaders of this city. I want to thank Speaker Adams for her leadership and for bringing this bill to floor for a vote.”
Introduction 696, sponsored by Council Member Ung, would amend certain requirements for the design and contents of Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) ballots. The goal of this legislation is to make RCV ballots easier to read, particularly for voters with lower literacy levels, voters with low vision, and voters who do not speak English as their primary language. The bill would improve the layout of RCV ballots by adding requirements that include adding a black bold line to separate multiple RCV races on the same page, clearly separating RCV instructions when they appear in multiple languages, setting a black font against a white background on general election ballots, and designing primary election ballots to ensure coloring does not cover RCV instructions.
“Last year, New Yorkers went to the polls and pulled off the largest ranked-choice voting election in the history of the United States,” said Council Member Ung. “While most voters said they found the process very simple, I am proud to pass legislation today that will build on last year’s success by redesigning the ballot to make it even clearer and easier for those with limited English proficiency to understand. In addition to simplified instructions, the new ballot will also include illustrations showing the correct way to mark the ballot. Thank you to Speaker Adams for her leadership to bring this before the City Council for a vote with ample time to prepare for these changes to take effect by next June’s primaries.”
Committee on Public Safety
In the past year, the number of thefts related to catalytic converters in New York City have skyrocketed, leaving car owners to not only pay hundreds of dollars out of pocket for a replacement, but without a way to track the stolen converters. Introduction 759-B, sponsored by Council Member Linda Lee, would require the New York City Police Department (NYPD) to establish a program to provide distribute kits used to etch identifying numbers into catalytic converters for the purpose of deterring and investigating theft of such devices. The NYPD would also be required to perform outreach to the public on the benefits of etching identifying numbers and their etching program.
“There has been an exponential surge in catalytic converter thefts across New York City, with Queens being the epicenter. New Yorkers should not be saddled with thousands of dollars in repair costs while battling rising inflation and a difficult economy. I am proud that the City Council has passed my legislation to protect our vehicles and provide residents with much-needed peace of mind,” said Council Member Linda Lee. “Thieves have targeted parking lots, auto repair shops, and even our home driveways to remove catalytic converters from vehicles. By providing etching kits to engrave identifying numbers on catalytic converters, we are investing and expanding on the good but overstretched work of the NYPD, which has been actively engaged in combating this illegal activity. I thank my colleagues in the Committee on Public Safety and Speaker Adrienne Adams for their dedicated work and leadership to safeguard residents in our communities.”
Committee on Resiliency and Waterfronts
Introduction 76-A, sponsored by Council Member Justin Brannan, would require that the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) establish a financial assistance program to reduce the costs of purchasing and installing backwater valves. This bill would also require that DEP, in consultation with other agencies or offices as designated by the Mayor, complete a study that evaluates where backwater valves should be installed to mitigate damage caused by backflow. The study would be posted on the DEP website and submitted to the Mayor and Speaker. The financial assistance program would be informed by the findings of the study and subject to appropriation. The bill would also require DEP to prioritize neighborhoods regularly affected by backflow events and conduct outreach and education to property owners about the benefits of backwater valves.
“Government is at its best when it reaches towards big, bold action while, at the same time, sweating the small stuff that makes a difference in the lives of hardworking New Yorkers,” said Council Member Justin Brannan. “The idea of making these flooding-protective valves more accessible and affordable for homeowners came as much out of the hyperlocal concerns of my neighbors as it did out of my former citywide role as Waterfronts & Resiliency Chair. I can’t wait for this program to get up and running and to start making a difference in our neighborhoods.”
Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure
Commuter vans provide a vital resource as an option for transportation in areas across the city where transit options are scarce. Resolution 292-A, sponsored by Council Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers, calls on the New York State Legislature to pass, and the New York State Governor to sign, S.5320/A.9731, which would amend the administrative code of the city of New York to allow commuter vans to accept hails from prospective passengers in the street and would repeal certain related provisions in New York City law, such as the existing penalty for accepting a street hail.
“Commuter vans are a transportation lifeline for communities across the city that lack access to core transit infrastructure,” said Council Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers, Chair of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. “In particular, communities predominantly of color rely on the dozens of TLC-licensed vans in operation, which help ensure New Yorkers can get to work or shop for their families. When permitted to accept street hails, commuter vans offer more residents an affordable, flexible transit option. I am excited to see the council pass Resolution 292, and I urge the State to heed the Council’s call and legalize commuter van street hails.”
Committee on Environmental Protection
Resolution 258-B, sponsored by Council Member James Gennaro, calls on the Governor to ensure that funds from the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act 2022, are allocated to New York City in a manner that reflects the City’s contributions to statewide tax revenue. The Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act 2022 authorizes the issuance of 4.2 billion dollars in bonds to finance critical environmental restoration and resiliency projects across the state
“As Chair of the New York City Council’s Committee on Environmental Protection, I am thrilled that New Yorkers overwhelmingly voted to pass the Environmental Bond Act. But now that the Bond Act has passed, it is crucial we do not make the same mistakes that were made in the past. We need to make sure that New York City gets its fair share of Environmental Bond Act funds,” said Council Member James Gennaro. “Reso 0258 calls upon the state to allocate benefits accrue to the city in a manner that is commensurate with the city’s contribution to statewide tax revenue. Additionally, in the past, New York City hasn’t always gotten its fair share because eligibility requirements for Bond Act funding unfairly excluded New York City. That must not happen again. I thank my colleagues in Council for voting in favor of this Resolution and urge the Governor to ensure New York City gets its fair share.”
Resolution 169, sponsored by Council Member Lincoln Restler, calls on the Climate Action Council to draft, and the Governor to implement, a final a final Climate Action Scoping Plan that commits to meeting the targets mandated in the Community Protection Act (CLCPA). New York State’s CLCPA, signed into law in 2019, calls for an 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, with interim targets of: a 40% reduction by 2030, 100% zero emissions electricity by 2040, and 70% renewable energy by 2030, among other mandates. The Climate Action Council is tasked with developing the scoping plan.
“The climate crisis is here, and its effects are already being deeply felt in New York City and across the state and country,” said Council Member Lincoln Restler. “I’m grateful to my colleagues for understanding the urgency of this moment and to the advocates who are fighting to ensure that we swiftly implement tangible policies to achieve the goals laid out in the CLCPA to protect our communities.”
The Land Use items passed by the Council include the following:
Livonia4 – An HPD application for an Urban Renewal Plan Amendment, Urban Development Action Area (UDAAP) designation, project approval, and disposition, and zoning map and text amendments to facilitate the development of affordable, senior, and supportive housing with a total of 499 units on four parcels of city-owned land in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn in Council Member Charles Barron’s district. The four buildings will include two affordable housing developments, a senior housing development, and a supportive housing development targeted for young adults at risk of homelessness and youth aging out of foster care, with on-site services and amenities at each of the buildings. The Council is modifying the application to strike MIH Option 2 and add the deep affordability option.
280 Bergen Street Rezoning – An application by BNW3 Re-Gen, LLC to rezone the majority of Brooklyn Block 388, in the Boerum Hill neighborhood, from an M1-2 zoning district to R7A (mid-block) and R7D/C2-4 (along 3rd Avenue) zoning districts to facilitate the construction of 300 units of housing, including 75 affordable units under MIH Option 1, alongside commercial and community facility space in the Boerum Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, in Council Member Lincoln Restler’s district. The rezoning also includes two city-owned parking lots where HPD has committed to developing up to 150 units of affordable housing. The Council is modifying the application to strike MIH Option 2 and add the deep affordability option.
The Council also passed the following Finance items:
Article XI Tax Exemptions:
- Pre-considered Resolution, sponsored by Council Member Justin Brannan, authorizes an Article XI tax exemption for one building in Yorkville.
- Pre-considered Resolution, sponsored by Council Member Justin Brannan, authorizes an Article XI tax exemption for three buildings in Corona.
- Pre-considered Resolution, sponsored by Council Member Justin Brannan, authorizes an Article XI tax exemption for two buildings in Briarwood.
- Pre-considered Resolution, sponsored by Council Member Justin Brannan, amends a previous exemption for one building in Harlem.
- Pre-considered Resolution, sponsored by Council Member Justin Brannan, amends a previous exemption for two buildings in Harlem.
The Council also passed the following Rules items:
- David Fullard, a Commissioner of the New York City Local Conditional Release Commission
- Gregorio Mayers, a Commissioner of the New York City Local Conditional Release Commission
- Lily Shapiro, a Commissioner of the New York City Local Conditional Release Commission