City to eliminate biz fines for first-time violations
by Benjamin Fang
Feb 26, 2020 | 2406 views | 0 0 comments | 160 160 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The city is rolling out a new effort to reduce fines and provide relief for local small businesses.

Last Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio visited The Sandwich Shop and PS 18 in Williamsburg to announce the new initiative, which includes eliminating fines for first-time violations and expanding the list of violations that have cure periods.

The mayor announced at his “State of the City” address earlier this month that his administration aims to cut small small business fines by an additional 10 percent by the time he leaves office. The city has already reduced fines for small businesses by 40 percent since 2014.

“New York City is not New York City without our small businesses,” de Blasio said in a statement. “We will not be a city that gives in to corporate takeover. Instead, we’ll fight for our mom-and-pops and do all we can to help them thrive.”

First-time violations that will be forgiven include failure to clean 18 inches from the curb to the street, which carries a $100 penalty, and excessive noise created by an air compressor, which is a $560 fine.

The violations subject to relief include those from the Department of Buildings (DOB), Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Department of Sanitation (DSNY) and the Department of Transportation (DOT).

Fines that have been added to the cure list include not having a scale in sight of customers at the supermarket or bodega, failure to disclose details about layaway plans, and failure to post clear prices at laundromats.

The city has also committed to work with the City Council to review more than 75 violations. Agencies like DOB and DOT can implement their own rule changes in the fall, officials said.

“The expansion of small business services for New York City’s community is a deeper investment in the businesses that make up the backbone of our economy,” said Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Gregg Bishop, whose agency will begin spreading the word across the city.

“Businesses will now have a greater opportunity to comply with regulations prior to being fined,” he added, “which puts money back in their pockets and creates a safer and more secure city.”

Councilman Antonio Reynoso, who accompanied the mayor to The Sandwich Shop on Grand Street, said in a statement that local small businesses are the lifeblood of the neighborhood.

“In recent years, New York city has put a lot of requirements on small businesses,” he said. “The city’s oversight has furthered workplace standards and helped to protect the public and consumers.

“However, we cannot continuously dump fines on businesses without offering them relief,” Reynoso added. “Mayor de Blasio’s reforms to small business fines are necessary measures to provide much needed support to small business owners.”
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