Curse of the Balanced Budget

Mayor Bloomberg yesterday submitted a balanced 2014 City budget proposal thanks to several one-shot revenue items, including building and taxi medallion sales, and about $250 million more in anticipated real estate taxes than was projected in January. The plan also proposes salary increases for city workers that employee unions have rejected as too paltry  since 2010.  But, in handing Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio what Bloomberg said was the first balanced budget ever received by a new Mayor in City history, Bloomberg has neatly set up de Blasio with total responsibility for any new taxes or expenditures and walked away clean.

Earlier in the week, the City picked up another million dollars from a court settlement with Smart Apartments, a short-term stay management company that had been operating illegal hotel units in about 50 apartments buildings. Smart Apartment was a major user of Airbnb, which the City and State are still pursuing for promoting illegal occupancies.

On the flip side, the City’s booming tech industry introduced two new businesses this week that could make life easier for Airbnb users. Kisi and KeyMe, respectively, are services that provide smart phone apps for opening electronic doors instead of fobs or cards; and a digital key replacement and delivery company for when someone is locked out or wants to share a key.

The Department of City Planning, meanwhile, was reported this morning to be moving ahead with a proposal for down-zoning 530 blocks in Ozone Park that we first reported in September. A vote is expected next month.

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