New York Daily News NYC businesses with thousands in unpaid fines could lose licenses under proposed bill by Erin Durkin
A new City Council bill would yank the licenses of businesses that rack up thousands of dollars in unpaid fines.
The city is owed $1.5 billion in uncollected penalties on building and fire code, sanitation, health and other violations - all judgments handled by the Environmental Control Board.
Under the bill being introduced by Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) Wednesday, businesses could lose their licenses or permits if they have $50,000 overdue for two years, or $25,000 overdue for five years. They’d also get hit if they owe $10,000 and fail to make three straight payments on a payment plan.
“There’s $1.5 billion that’s sitting on the table,” Kallos said. “Passing these laws to revoke permits would do a lot to improve quality of life.”
The legislation would mean construction sites that rack up debt for dangerous building code violations would have their permits taken away.
Other targets could be restaurants that don’t pay their health code fines, or businesses that leave sidewalks covered in litter or don’t shovel snow.
Three other bills being introduced, co-sponsored by Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-Queens), would require more details to be included on summonses to make it easier to track down the violator, and would give the city a month to correct technical errors that often lead to fines getting thrown out.
Businesses have complained about the city nickle-and-diming them with nonsense fines, but Kallos said that while agencies should be selective about doling out tickets, the ones they do issue should have teeth.
“My goal here is not to raise money by issuing fines. My goal is to make sure that when someone’s doing something wrong and harming quality of life ... it should be enforceable,” he said.