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This Week in New York City Government

Mayor:

Mayor de Blasio Announces Partnership With Crime Lab New York To Advance Evidence-Driven, Cost-Effective Public Safety Strategies

To capitalize on historically low crime rates in New York City, Mayor de Blasio today announced a joint research venture with Crime Lab New York to design and assess the effectiveness of innovative programs that strive to prevent crime and violence well before they begin.

Crime Lab New York – the second installment of the University of Chicago’s Crime Lab – has opened an office co-located within the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. It will be staffed by academics, statisticians, and behavioral economists and employ sophisticated data research methods to help City agencies determine how their criminal justice resources can be best invested. This unprecedented partnership is one component of the de Blasio administration’s ongoing efforts to use evidence-driven methods to reduce unnecessary arrests and incarceration, direct criminal justice resources to where they will have the greatest public safety impact, and make the system fairer.

Mayor de Blasio Announces More Than 17,300 Units of Affordable Housing Financed in 2014, Enough to House Nearly 42,000 New Yorkers

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the City financed the creation and preservation of more than 17,300 affordable units during calendar year 2014. With 11,185 preserved units and 6,191 new construction units financed, the City exceeded its first year projections by more than 1,300 affordable units. Based on average household size, these new and preserved units are enough to affordably house nearly 42,000 New Yorkers.

Preservation of affordable housing—keeping existing residents in their homes, rehabilitating old apartments and building systems, and locking in long-term affordability—is a major element of the Housing New York plan for 200,000 affordable units. The Mayor made the announcement at 45-55 North Elliott Place in Brooklyn, a low-income cooperative  home to 159 families earning less than $60,000 per year for a family of four—and many residents considerably less. In December 2014, the administration invested $3.1 million in capital funding, with an additional $250,000 dedicated by Public Advocate Letitia James during her tenure as Council Member, to ensure the building will remain affordable for another 30 years, keeping longtime residents in their homes in this rapidly gentrifying neighborhood. The funding will also provide for upgrades including replacing windows, asbestos removal, elevator rehabilitation and boiler replacement.

Enrollment in Middle School Afterschool Hits 121 Percent as City Awards 49 New Programs at Non-Public Schools and Community Centers

Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) Commissioner Bill Chong announced that enrollment has reached 121 percent for the more than 75,000 City-funded after-school seats currently available to middle school students. Additionally, 49 new SONYC (School’s Out New York City) programs have been awarded to add more than 2,500 seats and nearly triple the number of existing seats at non-public schools and community centers beginning March 1. These sites build on the 271 new SONYC programs launched in September 2014, the largest expansion of afterschool for sixth to eighth graders in the City’s history.

Mayor de Blasio And Commissioner Trottenberg Announce Completion Of More Than 50 ‘Vision Zero’ Street Design Projects Making NYC Safer

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg announced the completion of more than 50 major street and intersection redesign projects in the first year of the City’s Vision Zero initiative. The changes include widened sidewalks, pedestrian refuge medians, protected bike lanes, and narrower crossings at dangerous intersections.The Mayor announced that 2014 was the safest year for New York City’s pedestrians since recordkeeping began in 1910, with overall traffic fatalities down 15 percent from 2013 and pedestrian fatalities down 27 percent.

Building on 2014’s achievements, Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Trottenberg announced several new priority locations for safer street designs in the coming year. The City is launching a comprehensive community planning process for two of the city’s most notoriously dangerous corridors—Queens Boulevard and Linden Boulevard—to develop redesigns that dramatically reduce crashes along their entire length. And the DOT is moving quickly to tackle one of Midtown’s most crash-prone intersections by untangling bus routes and adding improved pedestrian crossings at Third Avenue and East 57th Street. A full slate of priorities will be identified in each Borough Safety Action plan released later this winter.

De Blasio Administration Announces Activation of IDNYC Plan to Handle High Demand  

Director of Operations Mindy Tarlow, Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Nisha Agarwal, and Human Resources Administration Commissioner Steve Banks announced the activation of a planned response to handle high demand for the IDNYC municipal identification program. On Wednesday, January 14, the City will switch to an appointment-based system to increase ease of access for applicants.

Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City Announces $275,000 in Pledges for Fallen Heroes Relief Effort 

The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City announced that it has raised $275,000 in pledges for the Fallen Heroes Relief Effort from over 150 individual and corporate contributions. The Fallen Heroes Relief Effort was established in honor of slain Detectives Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos and the larger NYPD community, to offer support for the affected families and our city’s law enforcement personnel. The Mayor’s Fund will contribute $200,000 to the Daily News Charities, which will provide direct support to the families of Detectives Liu and Ramos. The Fund will also contribute $25,000 to the Heroes Fund of the New York City Police Foundation; $25,000 to the New York Police and Fire Widows’ and Children’s Benefit Fund; and $25,000 to the New York City PBA Widows’ and Children’s Fund.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito Launch IDNYC, The Country’s Most Ambitious Municipal Identification Program

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito launched the IDNYC municipal identification program for residents of all five New York City boroughs. The Mayor also announced that the IDNYC card will be accepted as valid primary identification for opening a bank or credit union account at more than 10 financial institutions, and revealed the card’s full suite of benefits. The IDNYC card will be integrated into New York City’s official prescription drug discount card, BigAppleRx, giving card holders up to 50 percent off most FDA-approved prescription medications at more than 2,000 New York City pharmacies. It will also be accepted as valid primary identification for opening bank or credit union accounts at more than 10 financial institutions, including Popular Community Bank, Amalgamated Bank, and Carver Federal Savings Bank.

The Mayor also announced the full suite of IDNYC benefits, including:

  • Exclusive entertainment discounts on movie tickets, Broadway shows, sporting events, theme parks, and more with Entertainment Benefits Group.
  • A 10 percent discount off annual NYC Parks Recreation Center membership for adults age 25-61 and NYC Parks Department tennis permits.
  • A 20 percent discount on family memberships at all 22 YMCA centers citywide.
  • A free 30-day trial and fitness evaluation with a certified trainer at all New York Sports Club locations.
  • A 5 percent discount off all purchases at Food Bazaar supermarkets in New York City Monday through Friday, from 7 AM to 7 PM.
  • A 25 percent discount on New York Pass, a citywide pass to 83 tourist attractions in all five boroughs.
  • Free one-year membership packages at 33 of the City’s leading cultural institutions, including world class museums, performing arts centers, concert halls, botanical gardens, and zoos across the five boroughs.

The IDNYC card will make government work more effectively and efficiently for New Yorkers by expanding access to the services, programs and opportunities available to City residents. It will be accepted by the New York Police Department for the purposes of issuing summonses or desk appearance tickets in lieu of arrest, and has been incorporated into the NYPD Patrol Guide. The IDNYC card will grant access to all City buildings, increasing the confidence of New Yorkers to interact with their local government, schools and hospitals. The IDNYC program will continue to expand functionality and grow after the launch date to create an integrated form of identification that will be the one card New Yorkers need in their wallet.

All City residents age 14 and above are eligible to get a municipal ID card, and enrollment is free for anyone who applies in 2015. The City has established 17 permanent enrollment centers throughout the five boroughs, 11 of which are open to the general public in locations highly convenient to mass transit and commercial hubs, including five of the most-trafficked library branches. The City has also opened six enrollment centers for City agency clients in the Department of Probation and the Human Resources Administration. The 18th permanent public enrollment center will open in the spring, and two mobile locations will launch later in January to increase accessibility across the five boroughs.

The Mayor announced support for a municipal ID program during his campaign, and committed to delivering it by January 2015 in his first State of the City address. The New York City Council introduced legislation to create the municipal ID program in April 2014 and the law passed on June 26, 2014 by a vote of 43 in favor to 3 opposed, with 2 abstentions. The legislation signed into law on July 10, 2014 authorizes the City of New York to begin issuing IDNYC cards on January 10, 2015. In August of 2014, the Mayor issued an executive order designating HRA as the administering agency of the IDNYC initiative.

Mayor de Blasio Announces Tax Reform to Provide Relief to NYC Businesses and Manufacturers, Modernize NYC’s Corporate Tax System

Mayor Bill de Blasio proposed a major reform of New York City’s corporate tax structure, modernizing an outdated system, providing vital tax relief to the city’s small businesses and local manufacturers, and streamlining City and State corporate tax codes. The revenue-neutral reforms will be retroactive to January 1, 2015. Certain New York City corporate tax provisions have not been reformed since the 1940s and reflect an outdated financial regulatory structure. The City reforms announced today recognize the realities of the modern marketplace and treat firms consistently.

By conforming the City’s corporate tax system with that of the State, the de Blasio administration’s reforms will ensure that firms will not need to maintain separate records for State and City tax purposes, and—most importantly—create the consistency in computation of taxes that is critical to facilitating joint audits and preventing major administrative burdens for both taxpayers and the city. Moreover, these reforms will protect and support the expansion of the city’s tax base.

Citywide and Borough Electeds:

Speaker Mark-Viverito, Immigration Committee Chair Menchaca, Council Member Dromm And City Council Members Sign Up For IDNYC Card To Mark The Launch Of The Largest Municipal ID Card In The Nation

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Immigration Committee Chair Carlos Menchaca and Council Member Daniel Dromm along with Council Member Laurie Cumbo, Council Member Alan Maisel, Council Member Chaim Deutch, Council Member Brad Lander, Council Member Rafael Espinal and Council Member Robert Cornegy today applied for the IDNYC card at the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza. Joining the Speaker and Council Members were Linda E. Johnson, President and CEO of the Brooklyn Public Library, and affected members of the public. The IDNYC program was created by the Council through legislation sponsored by Council Members Daniel Dromm and Carlos Menchaca. The IDNYC card offers a secure and formal identification card to anyone living within the five borough. Card holders will be eligible for a wide variety of benefits including discounted movie theater tickets, free admission to the city’s cultural institutions and prescription drug discounts through Big Apple Rx. IDNYC will also serve as a valid form of ID for 10 financial institutions.

Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Member Vincent Gentile, Finance Chair Julissa Ferreras, Public Safety Committee Chair Vanessa Gibson And New York City Council Propose Funding For New Bulletproof Vests

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Member Vincent Gentile, Finance Committee Chair Julissa Ferreras, Public Safety Committee Chair Vanessa Gibson and the New York City Council today proposed allocating $7.3 million in the FY 2016 preliminary budget and additional funds  in the coming years to replace existing bulletproof vests. The funds will ensure NYPD continues to have the most advanced and effective technology and will cost approximately $600 per vest. The City Council has a long history of supporting funding for bulletproof vests. In 2006, the City Council successfully advocated for funds to provide new bulletproof vests to NYPD officers.

Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito Partners with Doe Fund to Bring Cleanup NYC Initiative to East Harlem and South Bronx

Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito announced a partnership with the Doe Fund to bring the Cleanup NYC Initiative to District 8 in East Harlem and the South Bronx.
Through  Cleanup NYC, the Doe Fund supplements the city’s sanitation efforts by providing cleaning services to New York’s streets and sidewalks, including litter removal,  recycling programs, graffiti removal, snow shoveling, and tree maintenance.  In addition to beautifying local communities, The Doe Fund’s Ready, Willing, and Able transitional work program has created over 100 new jobs for formerly homeless and incarcerated individuals, providing them with the career development and skills training needed to compete effectively in the workforce and procure long- term employment.

Comptroller Stringer Finds New York City’s Fair Share of State of State Surplus is $2.2 Billion

In the lead-up to State budget negotiations, New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer released an analysis today showing that New York City’s fair share of New York State’s $5 billion budget surplus is $2.2 billion. The analysis also examined State funding trends to New York City and quantified the dramatic decline in State aid to the City between 2009 and 2014. 

Senator Jeff Klein, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Bronx Chamber of Commerce: Graduates of Bronx H.I.R.E. Survivors Program Start New Internships in The Bronx

Graduates of the Bronx H.I.R.E. Domestic Violence Survivors program will start new internships at small businesses and city and state offices across the borough, State Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester), Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. and Bronx Chamber of Commerce executives announced today. The two-part initiative includes a six-week job training course followed by a six-week paid internship program geared toward increasing job readiness, preparing survivors for the workplace and putting women on a path to financial independence.

Participants in the Bronx H.I.R.E. Survivors program will complete administrative internships at six bronx-based small businesses and government organizations, including: Senator Jeff Klein’s office, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.’s office, Councilman Ritchie Torres’ office, the Bronx Chamber of Commerce, the Westchester Square B.I.D., and Teddy Nissan. Participants in the program will receive a $1,500 stipend.

Bronx Borough President Diaz: Health Department Launches New PrEP & PEP Campaign: New Ways to Prevent HIV

The Health Department launched a new outreach campaign, PrEP & PEP: New Ways to Prevent HIV, at The Oval Center at Montefiore Medical Center to provide primary care and infectious disease practices with resources to support pre-exposure and post-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP and PEP). Each year, approximately 3,000 New Yorkers are newly diagnosed with HIV. PrEP and PEP are highly effective in preventing HIV when taken as directed. PrEP is a pill taken daily to prevent HIV infection when used in combination with other risk reduction strategies, while PEP is a combination of pills taken daily for 28 days to prevent HIV infection immediately after a high-risk exposure to HIV.

In spring 2014, the Health Department conducted surveys with more than 500 NYC men who have sex with men (MSM) aged 18-40. Results indicate that awareness of PrEP and PEP among this population is still relatively low. Among MSM respondents with HIV-negative or unknown status, up to 59 percent were unaware of PrEP and up to 51 percent of respondents were unaware of PEP. Less than five percent of respondents reported using PrEP or PEP within the past six months. New Yorkers at an increased risk for HIV infection include MSM, transgender individuals, serodifferent couples (couples where only one partner is HIV-positive), and injection drug users. In NYC, HIV prevalence and incidence is greatest among MSM and transgender women.

City Agencies:

Chancellor Fariña to Launch 40 Dual Language Programs in September

Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced a new initiative to open 40 Dual Language programs in the 2015-16 school year, as part of the Department of Education’s commitment to student achievement and increasing multilingual programs across the City. Of these programs, 25 are new while 15 schools will expand existing Dual Language programs.

The 40 programs together will receive $1 million in federal funds from Title III Language Instruction for Limited Proficient and Immigrant Students (LEP). Each school will receive a $25,000 planning grant to implement its program. Among the schools participating in the Citywide Dual Language Initiative, 10 are in the Bronx, 11 in Brooklyn, nine in Manhattan, eight in Queens, and two in Staten Island. Of these, there are 23 elementary schools, three high schools, 13 middle schools, and one K-12 school. The Dual Language programs include Mandarin, French, Haitian Creole, Hebrew, Japanese, and Spanish.

The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) joined co-developers Hudson Companies, Related Companies, and CAMBA/CAMBA Housing Ventures today to celebrate the ribbon-cutting ceremony for 197 affordable apartments at Gateway I, and the groundbreaking ceremony for 287 affordable apartments at Gateway III in the Spring Creek section of Brooklyn.  The Gateway Elton I development is located at 1149, 1152, 1165 and 1166 Elton Street and Gateway Elton III will be located at 1062 Elton Street and 475 Locke Street.  Gateway Elton II and its 175 apartments are currently under construction at 516 and 526 Vandalia Avenue and 526 Schroeders Avenue. When complete the three phase Gateway Elton project will have created 659 affordable apartments and 711,855-square-feet of new retail space.

Health Department Preliminary Test Results Indicate Legionella Bacteria in Co-Op City Cooling Towers

The Health Department announced the results of preliminary tests that show that the cooling towers at Co-Op City are contaminated with the Legionella bacteria. Since December 2014, 12 cases of Legionnaires’ disease have been diagnosed among Bronx residents. Eight of the 12 recent cases have been diagnosed among Co-Op City residents.

The Health Department is continuing its investigation to determine if the cooling towers are the source of these recent cases. Although no determination has been made that the cooling towers are the cause of any reported case of Legionnaires Disease, the Health Department instructed River Bay to take immediate steps to decontaminate the cooling tower in order to minimize the risk. The infected water is used to cool Co-Op City’s heating and electrical systems. The water in the cooling tower is self-contained and is separate from the water used by Co-Op City residents for drinking, cooking and bathing. The water at Co-Op City is safe to drink, bathe and cook with.

 

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