Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Small Business First, a comprehensive plan to reduce the regulatory burden on small businesses in New York City. Small Business First will simplify the regulatory landscape many small businesses confront in the establishment and ongoing operation of their businesses by improving communication between business owners and City government; streamlining licensing, permitting and tribunal processes; providing support and resources to help businesses understand and comply with City regulations; and ensuring assistance is accessible to all communities across the five boroughs. This is a $27 million dollar investment starting now through Fiscal Year 2019. Ultimately, the reforms outlined in Small Business First will make it easier to achieve compliance with City regulations, saving businesses time and money. The initiative is led by the Mayor’s Office of Operations and the Department of Small Business Services, with more than 15 partnering City agencies.
Small Business First includes 30 initiatives developed as a direct result of conversations with stakeholders, advocates, small business owners, neighborhood and community leaders, and elected officials representing a diverse slate of city neighborhoods. In total, more than 600 unique comments and ideas were solicited, detailing the specific needs of small businesses in communities across the five boroughs. In response, the Small Business First Initiatives, which will be rolled out beginning in 2015, include:
- Consolidating locations for businesses to find and process applications, permits, and information across agencies– both in person and online
- Creating one place – both in person and online – for business owners to settle the majority of fines and violations
- Helping businesses navigate regulatory processes such as providing pre-inspection walkthroughs to help them comply before receiving fines or violations
- Translating resources and informational materials into multiple languages
Read the full report here: www.nyc.gov/smallbizfirst
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the reappointment of longtime disability advocate Victor Calise as Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD). MOPD functions as a liaison between the disabled community and City government, working to include the rights and needs of people with disabilities in the development and delivery of City services and programs. MOPD Commissioner since 2012, Calise has served the disabled community in various capacities for more than 18 years.
“Victor’s relentless pursuit to make New York City the most accessible place in the world is exactly the type of ardent leadership we need to open up our city to more New Yorkers,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Victor believes in his heart that it is our civic and moral duty to make New York more inclusive for everyone, including the many people with disabilities who live across the five boroughs and visit our city. From his rich personal history and longtime advocacy for the disabled community to his innovative ideas and diplomacy skills, MOPD is in highly capable hands with Victor at its helm.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the release of the New York City Panel on Climate Change’s 2015 report, Building the Knowledge Base for Climate Resiliency, focused on increasing the current and future resiliency of communities, citywide systems, and infrastructure around New York City and the broader metropolitan region.
The New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC) is an independent body that advises the City on climate risks and resiliency. As the best available data, NPCC science informs the City’s comprehensive climate policies, including its multilayered, citywide resiliency plan and sweeping sustainability initiatives—in line with President Obama’s recent Executive Order. The NPCC worked in partnership with the City, including with the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency, the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, the Mayor’s Office of Operations, and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
The NPCC report provides climate projections through 2100 for the first time, for temperature, precipitation, and sea level rise, representing advancement in the science. New topics covered in the report also include public health, with a focus on extreme heat events and coastal storms and enhanced dynamic coastal flood modeling, which incorporate the effects of sea level rise.
Citywide and Borough Electeds:
Comptroller Scott M. Stringer announced a major step forward for ethics, compliance and risk management with key appointments at the Bureau of Asset Management (BAM), responsible for investing the City’s $163 billion New York City Pension Funds. Miles Draycott has been hired as Chief Risk Officer, Shachi Bhatt has been hired as Chief Compliance Officer and Khanim Babayeva has been hired as Internal Auditor.
With these positions, Comptroller Stringer has implemented substantial elements of his comprehensive ethics and reform plan for the Bureau of Asset Management announced last year. Additional elements of the Comptroller’s plan include:
- Banning placement agents across all asset classes in June 2014;
- Enhancing the investment disclosure policy for all BAM employees with investment decision-making authority; and
- Implementing cutting-edge training on ethics, conflicts of interest and financial regulation.
Comptroller Scott M. Stringer announced a new transparency initiative that will provide the public with unparalleled access to detailed information on City spending and contracts with M/WBEs (minority and women-owned business enterprises) and subcontractors (businesses that perform work on City contracts held by other firms) for the first time ever in Checkbook NYC.
Checkbook NYC, an online transparency tool that places the City’s day-to-day spending in the public domain, now has “featured dashboards” – or dedicated screens – which will help M/WBEs and other subcontractors pinpoint which vendors are awarded City contracts and monitor when agencies pay out money on specific projects. Checkbook NYC users can use these dashboards to follow the life of a contract from master agreements through modifications and payments, seeing how contracts change over time.
Additionally, the public will now be able to see how vendors who have won contracts disburse those awards to subcontractors in real time. This level of detail is of particular importance considering recent instances of fraud uncovered by local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies in the subcontracting process. This information is made available in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services and the Financial Information Services Agency, an entity that is jointly run by the Comptroller and the Mayor. Additional subcontractor data will become available in the coming months.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. delivered his annual “State of the Borough” address, his sixth since becoming borough president in 2009. In his speech, which he delivered at The Mall at Bay Plaza, Borough President Diaz discussed the progress The Bronx has made since he took office, while also outlining new programs and initiatives his office will pursue in the coming year.
Borough President Diaz noted that, since 2009, more than 16,000 new units of housing and more than 15,000 new jobs have been created in The Bronx. He also noted that unemployment has dropped, and that The Bronx has seen record investment, including over $1 billion in new investment last year alone.
Borough President Diaz announced several new initiatives during the speech, including the study of the potential decking of three borough train yards—149th Street, the Grand Concourse yards near my alma mater, Lehman College, and the 1 train yards connecting Riverdale and Kingsbridge.
The borough president also called for the expansion of “impact investing” in New York City. Impact investments are ventures made with the intention to generate measurable social and environmental benefit, alongside a financial return. Borough President Diaz’s proposal would leverage a revolving fund with private sector investment to accelerate the greening of large residential buildings.
On education, Borough President Diaz noted the racial disparities in admissions at the city’s three specialized high schools—the Bronx High School of Science, Stuyvesant High School and Brooklyn Technical High School. The borough president proposed the creation of new specialized high schools, one in each borough that would use a portfolio system to select its freshman class. These new schools would also guarantee admissions to the top two performers in each city middle school. The full speech can be read at http://on.nyc.gov/1zOPJF9.
New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Vicki Been announced the release of a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) to develop a mixed-use, mixed-income development with approximately 100 new affordable apartments in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the Bronx. The development site is a vacant, City-owned lot located at St. Ann’s Avenue and East 142nd Street. The approximately 24,146 square-foot site is currently being leased by the city as a temporary parking lot. Proposals should provide affordable housing for a mix of incomes that will contribute to the economic diversity and strength of the Mott Haven neighborhood.
The St. Ann’s Avenue and East 142nd Street site will be developed under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Housing New York: A Five-Borough, 10-Year Housing Plan to finance the creation and preservation of 200,000 units of affordable housing over the coming decade for households, to support New Yorkers with a range of incomes, from the very lowest to those in the middle class. The plan is designed to foster diverse, livable neighborhoods and promote mixed-use, mixed-income communities that are anchored in affordable housing.