No New Taxes, Sort Of

No new taxes, but the Mayor’s Fiscal 2014 Financial Plan released this week projects a 5 percent increase in property tax revenues, presumably from increased assessed values. The $70.1 billion dollar budget doesn’t include many changes. Headcount in the Department of Buildings and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development is essentially unchanged.

FEMA, Monday, released advisory updates to its flood maps for the metro area so that property owners have as much notice as possible of post-Sandy changes that will affect building codes and insurance rates. And, today, the Mayor issued an executive order waiving zoning height restrictions so that some properties destroyed by the storm can be rebuilt higher than previously allowed.

Interestingly, as I read the maps, Governors Island isn’t in Zone A — which is good because the Trust for Governors Island is seeking expressions of interest from developers with a vision for 33 acres on the south end of the Island. This is separate from the RFP for redevelopment of existing buildings issued in December, but both responses are due by March 14th.

There are two reasons to go to Albany this month. February  12th is Scaffold Law Reform Day. Owners, builders and contractors are urged to lobby legislators to eliminate the absolute liability standards of the Labor Law, even when workers are negligent. The next day, the state Fire Prevention and Building Code Council will be voting on a proposal to mandate fire sprinklers in new single family homes. NYSBA is organizing opposition to the measure which will add thousands to the cost of a home even though fire deaths have been declining steadily due to new materials and smoke detectors. Anyone interested in participating should email Lew Dubuque, executive director of NYSBA, for details.

The State Assembly gave final approval  Monday to the bill extending J51 tax benefits and the co-op and condo tax break. The bill eliminates J51 benefits for improvements to units in buildings with average assessed values over $30,000 unless they receive substantial government assistance; and phases out the co-op and condo tax abatement for investor owned units by 2014.

If you enjoyed our awards luncheon Tuesday, you can relive it in pictures here, or check out who you missed seeing if you didn’t join us.

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