June 25th - July 1st, 2004
City Announces Deal to Keep Landlords in Mitchell-Lama Program
Tuesday, June 29: Mayor Michael Bloomberg and city housing officials announced a new plan that would offer financial incentives to property owners who choose to remain in the Mitchell-Lama program, which provides housing for low- and moderate-income families in Lower Manhattan and throughout the city, the New York Times reported.
The two-part initiative, designed to protect 27,000 affordable housing units in 36 Manhattan buildings and 44 more in other boroughs, would refinance mortgages on Mitchell-Lama properties and offer landlords $50 million in loans for capital improvements, according to the Times.
Eager to charge market rates for their properties, developers increasingly have elected to leave the Mitchell-Lama plan, which provides subsidies and tax breaks for up to 20 years in exchange for building affordable housing, after fulfilling their mortgage obligations. The city hopes that the new financing deal will stem this tide, helping owners realize savings while protecting tenants from soaring rents, according to the Times.
The deal would cost the city and the Housing Development Corporation $75.5 million if all building owners remain in the program for 15 years. Bloomberg called it "a sensible, low-cost investment that would preserve affordable homes for tens of thousands of New Yorkers for the next 15 to 30 years," the Times reported.
Ceremony Honors Accident Victims as Staten Island Ferry Boat Resumes Service
Wednesday, June 30: Announcing that the Andrew J. Barberi ferry boat would return to service the next day, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Iris Weinshall dedicated a plaque in honor of the passengers who perished or were injured when the boat crashed into Staten Island's St. George terminal last October.
"We will never forget those we lost, but, by re-launching the Barberi and dedicating this plaque, we can reaffirm our commitment to renewal, respectfully and with heavy hearts," the mayor said in a statement.
Following the tragedy that killed eleven passengers and injured dozens more, the DOT announced a series of safety improvements for the ferry service, including the installation of Global Positioning System (GPS) technology on all ferry boats, and new docking requirements for captain and crew. A safety plan to cover all aspects of ferry operation has also been implemented following a thorough review of the system.
Mayor, Governor Propose Financing Rail Link with Unspent 9/11 Aid
Thursday, July 1: Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. George Pataki have each proposed that billions of dollars in unspent 9/11 aid be converted to cash to finance construction of a rail link from Lower Manhattan to the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) and JFK Airport, the New York Times reported.
The governor has personally lobbied President Bush to provide hard cash in place of a $5 billion federal tax-break package established to help Lower Manhattan rebuild after 9/11, the Times reported. Offering his support of the governor's proposal, the mayor noted that other New York officials, among them Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff and Senator Charles Schumer, have already been urging Congress to convert about $2 billion of the unused aid.
"This is a coordinated effort from everybody and my hope is that down the road, Congress will do it," Bloomberg told the Times.
To learn more about the proposed airport link, which would connect Lower Manhattan to the LIRR and JFK via a tunnel under the East River, please click here.