New Bill To Give DOB Teeth in Battle Against Scofflaws

stop-work-order-0609.jpgUnder a new bill introduced this week by Bronx Councilman James Vacca, developers and contractors who have outstanding fines from any city agency, including the Department of Buildings, will be prevented from being granted any permits until they are paid up; currently, the DOB and other agencies lack the ability to deny permits on these grounds. People have to know that they will be held accountable via the permit process if they do not have fines paid up,” Vacca told the Daily News.
Bill to Derail Deadbeat Developers [NY Daily News]

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  • Great news. But that Grasso “Battle Axe” out of business…

  • Great idea. Quite brave of Vacca to introduce it.

  • This bill came as a knee-jerk reaction to an article published in mid-may on the Daily News. That article detailed how the ECB has no teeth to collect outstanding fines and therefore those fines are deemed “uncollectible.”

    As the report focused primarily on the Buildings Department, Council Member James Vacca drafted Intro 1008 to prevent the issuance of building permits when there are outstanding fines.

    While I find this proposed legislation admirable and have suggested that my councilman wholly support and/or co-sponsor it, it does not even begin to address the depth of the problem.

    In a time when taxes and fees are constantly being increased to a population that can ill-afford it and services are being cut right and left, it is unconscionable to allow over $100 million to be deemed “uncollectible” only because the agency charged with collecting them doesn’t have the “teeth” needed to collect.

    The Department of Buildings is only one agency who relies on the ECB (Environmental Control Board) for adjudicating their summonses. I have suggested that legislation be introduced that will give the ECB sufficient power to collect outstanding fees. This could include property liens with interest accruing for lack of payment (I was shocked to learn that liens issued for sidewalk violations do not accrue interest when not paid), seizing tax refunds of individuals or listed owners of companies and impoundment of real property.

    I strongly urge readers to speak with their council member about the inherent problems with the ECB.