New York Daily News Mayor de Blasio won’t use $40 million annual surplus in Battery Park City funds to fix up dingy NYCHA apartments by Greg Smith
The Mayor is refusing to use $40 million a year in surplus Battery Park City funds to fix NYCHA’s aging apartments — despite growing pleas from public housing tenants and local politicians.
The plan to devote a total of $400 million from Battery Park to NYCHA over 10 years needs approval by the mayor, the city controller and the governor.
This week Gov. Cuomo joined Controller Scott Stringer to support the plan, but Mayor de Blasio is balking.
“It’s deeply disappointing that the mayor came out against the Battery Park Authority proposal. It’s not progressive at all,” City Council Housing Committee Chairman Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx) said at a rally outside City Hall Thursday.
Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) added, “Where is Mayor de Blasio? Can he please say yes to $400 million?”
Saundrea Coleman, a NYCHA tenant and member of the advocacy group Community Voices Heard, also supports steering Battery Park funds to NYCHA.
“Today we’re calling on Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Cuomo to stop having us beg every year for funding,” she said.
Torres and Stringer on Thursday wrote to de Blasio pressing him to approve their plan. They note that going forward, the expected surpluses won’t be dedicated specifically to affordable housing.
“We need a new agreement that specifically preserves these excess funds for NYCHA,” Stringer and Torres wrote.
De Blasio spokesman Wiley Norvell said Thursday the mayor wants to keep using the money to finance affordable housing as part of his effort to create 200,000 affordable units by 2024. He doesn’t want to tie it to NYCHA.
Norvell said since de Blasio became mayor, Battery Park money has funded 1,997 affordable units.
“The proposal is a shell game that pits one group of New Yorkers who need safe, decent housing, against another,” Norvell said.