January 22, 2015
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today signed into law Intro 489-B, which will require the City to report annually to the City Council on outstanding Environmental Control Board judgments.
Intro 489-B, sponsored by Finance Committee Chair Julissa Ferreras, will require the city’s Department of Finance to provide a publicly available report on ECB judgments, including: the number of outstanding ECB judgments and total amount of money owed; enforcement efforts used to collect judgments; and the success of collection attempts. This legislation also bolsters collection efforts by allowing City Marshals to enforce collections related to Department of Sanitation judgments. The Environmental Control Board adjudicates fines issued by over a dozen City agencies. The bill was approved by the City Council at the Stated Meeting on January 7, 2015.
“New York City is owed about $1.5 billion in outstanding judgments for violations ranging from dirty sidewalks to construction work without a permit. This law will allow the City and the Council to better monitor this debt in a public, transparent way, and to help ensure these critical funds are collected,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I want to thank the City Council, led by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and Council Members Julissa Ferreras and Ben Kallos for sponsoring this essential legislation to improve our city’s judgment collection efforts.”
“This legislation will provide the Council with data about the money owed to City due to outstanding ECB judgments, which will in turn allow us to better serve the public in a manner that is effective and fair for tax-paying New Yorkers,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “I thank Council Member Ferreras, Council Member Kallos and Mayor de Blasio for their support of this legislation and their continued work to improve New York City for all of our residents.”
“This bill codifies the report we produced last year and is a major step in our efforts to collect debt resulting from ECB judgments. We look forward to our continued work with City Council as we improve this process,” said Department of Finance Commissioner Jacques Jiha.
“As the independent agency responsible for holding hearings on alleged ECB violations, the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings will continue to share relevant information with the Department of Finance and the City Council to assist them in their efforts to collect the fines imposed by our hearing officers that remain unpaid,” said Fidel F. Del Valle, Commissioner & Chief Administrative Law Judge of OATH.
“This bill will help us understand the debt owed to New York City for ECB fines going forward. With that clarity, we can more easily find ways to pull in our $1.5 billion and invest those dollars in projects for public benefit,” said Council Member Julissa Ferreras, Chair of the Committee on Finance. “Commissioner Jiha has been incredibly responsive, and I look forward to continuing my work with him to find solutions that work for the Department of Finance and the Environmental Control Board, and will put money back into our communities.”
“More than one billion dollars in unpaid Environmental Control Board fines could be financing our schools, building affordable housing and revitalizing our open space. It is imperative that we have the oversight necessary to find cost-savings at the ECB,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “I want to thank Mayor Bill de Blasio and Finance Chair Julissa Ferreras for their commitment to this transparency measure.”