PA James, Speaker Mark-Viverito Introduce Bill to Track City Commitments to Communities
Public Advocate for the City of New York
March 22, 2016
Today, Public Advocate Letitia James and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito introduced legislation that will create a publicly available tracking system for any commitments made by New York City in connection with a development project going through the City’s land use approval process (ULURP). The tracking system will not only record the City’s commitments for the first time, but will also require annual updates on the status of those commitments.
“Promises made must be promises kept, particularly when it comes to community benefits for New Yorkers,” said Public Advocate Letitia James. “This new database will be the first tool available to track projects on an annual basis in an effort to ensure that all commitments made to our communities are fulfilled. I am proud to partner with Speaker Mark-Viverito and Council Member Espinal to introduce this important legislation and look forward to working towards its passage.”
“City government must be transparent and accountable to the constituencies it serves,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “This legislation will allow New Yorkers to easily keep track of the City’s performance in delivering its commitments, while also helping City officials evaluate their own progress on those goals. I thank Council Member Rafael Espinal and Public Advocate Letitia James for their partnership on this important legislation.”
“Previous Rezonings have led to empty promises, take Bushwick Inlet Park for example, where a promised park continues to sit as an empty lot,” said Council Member Rafael L. Espinal, Jr. “I won’t let that happen in East New York, which is why I’m proud to join the Speaker and Public Advocate to introduce legislation that ensures promises made are promises kept in every neighborhood rezoning. Through the creation of a publicly accessible system to track commitments and agency reporting requirements to community stakeholders, this bill is another example of how the council is working to ensure administrations are held accountable for each and every commitment they make.”
Throughout New York City, there are many projects that are approved in part because of the community benefits that are promised as part of that particular project, however, there has never been a method to track these commitments. The database would be updated annually and would track all City commitments that have historically included promises related to: job creation, building or refurbishing parks, employing residents from public housing, redeveloping subway stations, or providing space for cultural institutions.
This bill calls on the Mayor’s office to designate an agency to oversee the development and implementation of this tracking system.