The Real Deal New York

Report questions de Blasio’s $1.6B neighborhood fund

Independent Budget Office says lump-sum method hurts transparency

May 21, 2015 02:40PM

From left: Bill de Blasio and Ronnie Lowenstein, IBO director

From left: Bill de Blasio and IBO director Ronnie Lowenstein

A new report by the Independent Budget Office says that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to create a $1.6 billion fund for neighborhood and infrastructure improvements lacks specifics.

Two of the funds would be controlled by the city’s Economic Development Corporation, while the other would be controlled by the Department of Environmental Protection. But the IBO says that the proposal, which is included in the mayor’s capital spending plan, could limit transparency by providing lump-sums to the agencies without a specific plan for how the money will be used, Capital New York reported.

The aim of the program is to provide support to 15 neighborhoods with major planned rezonings and other neighborhoods that have high infrastructure needs.

“In the past, other city agencies have used lump-sum capital funds to limit transparency and public accountability,” the report states.

A city official said that specifics will come in due time. “These priorities will be driven by community planning and outreach, and it’s neither possible nor appropriate to select specific projects until that process unfolds,” Wiley Norvell, a spokesperson for the mayor, said in a statement. [Capital NY] — Tess Hofmann