Government briefs

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Sheldon Silver

Report on rent-regulation “emergency” released

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver released a report last month that supports the extension of New York’s rent-regulation laws, which are set to expire June 15. Entitled “The New Housing Emergency,” the report says loopholes in the city’s current rent-stabilization rules — like vacancy decontrol and rent increases due to renovations — result in the loss of more than 10,000 rent-regulated apartments per year. The median income for tenants of the 1.02 million rent-regulated apartments in New York City is $38,000, according to the report. “Merely continuing the current laws is not enough,” said Silver. “We must close the loopholes identified in this report that cost our neighborhoods thousands of affordable homes each year and which threaten to turn New York into a city without a middle class.”

City plans $8.8B public-works investment for 2012, but funding likely to dwindle after

New York City infrastructure construction spending is set to remain “above historic standards” during fiscal year 2012 but taper off considerably over the next decade, according to a New York Building Congress report released last month. The city has proposed spending roughly $8.8 billion on infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges and schools during fiscal year 2012, and around $8.1 billion the following year. But while the city has planned an aggressive infrastructure spending strategy for the near term, its proposed spending between 2012 and 2021 totals just $47 billion, a near-halving of current capital investment in public works.

City unveils $3B waterfront development plan

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The Bloomberg Administration last month announced a 10-year, $3 billion-plus plan to clean up and redevelop the city’s 520 miles of waterfront property that calls for more than 130 projects over the next three years, according to the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. The 190-page initiative, which includes more than 50 acres of new waterfront parks, 14 new esplanades and a new ferry service, consolidates many proposals already on the table and makes them a high priority for city officials and especially Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who hopes the plan will become part of his legacy. Most of the project will be paid for through water rates collected by the city’s Department of Environmental Protection, which will oversee $2.57 billion worth of the projects. The rest, around $700 million in development projects slated to start before Bloomberg leaves office, will be funded by taxpayers.

NYC construction permits 22 percent below peak

The number of new building permits issued in the city last year was far below peak levels, according to the New York City Department of Buildings, leading some to worry that new building construction is far from rebounding. The DOB issued just 1,517 permits in 2010, down slightly from 1,635 in 2009, which was already considered below normal. The number of permits issued in 2010 was also down 22 percent from 2005, the Wall Street Journal reported.

BPC ground-rent increases scaled back

A planned 63 percent spike in ground rents in Battery Park City has been averted, according to Crain’s, after New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver helped broker a deal to reduce that increase. Ground rents, which are paid by residents to the Battery Park City Authority, vary among the 2,400 condo unit owners in the neighborhood’s 11 buildings. The tentative agreement, reached March 9, will raise ground rents by 33 percent next year and could save residents there $279 million over the next three decades.

Compiled by Linden Lim