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Industry finds hope in Dinkins address.

Industry finds hope in Dinkins address

Industry representatives were pleased that Mayor David N. Dinkin's State of the City speech contained a positive outlook for the coming year. They cautioned, however, that the details of the proposals - which will follow in the financial plan to be submitted in the next two weeks - will reveal his true intentions and ability to implement his ideas. * Dinkins reiterated his pledge to stabilize taxes over at least the next two years to provide "stability during this time of economic turmoil" * He vowed to infuse "needed construction dollars" into the struggling local economy. The city, he said, will be "accelerating" $125 million in capital improvements in |92 and $100 million in design work in Fiscal |93 and |94. The projects will include work on parks, stadiums, public office buildings, and the rehabilitation of Mitchell-Lama Housing * He vowed the creation of jobs through the rebuilding of the city's infrastructure, and said he would convene a "construction summit" with unions, construction industry leaders, business and government to address pressing issues * He announced his "Neighborhood Ownership Works" program, which would put foreclosed apartment buildings that have fallen under the city's control into the hands of non-profit housing groups. Private-sector firms will be hired to manage and renovate the buildings * He said they would eliminate the licensing fee for 5,000 small businesses

Steven Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York, said the good news is that the mayor did not tell New Yorkers that they would have to spend more, but did talk about a two-year stabilization of property taxes which Spinola hopes will be longer. While that is a positive message, Spinola said, which tells people they will not have to pay more, what is missing are the details of balancing the budget and holding the line without increasing revenues. "He talked about hope which was the right message," Spinola said. "There was no talk about closing the zoos or shutting the lights without increasing taxes. Now we need to see that he follows through."

Spinola said he did not expect to hear the specific details in the speech. "You get the broad overview and the mayor is talking about the right spirit and the right direction," he said. "We all have to join with the administration to make it happen and we wait for an even bolder economic program to be announced."

James Gifford, executive vice president of the New York Chamber of Commerce, also called the proposals "positive" and welcomed the mayor's promise to lay out a very different government in his financial plan. "We look forward to his proposal to |right-sizing' the city government," Gifford said. The Chamber was also pleased that the mayor made a commitment to the rebuilding of the city infrastructure, and to the speeding up of payments to city vendors as well as promising to reduce "burdensome" licensing requirements.

"One thing we will be looking for in the financial plan is the necessity of a four-year freeze on all taxes," Gifford said. "Our preference is for a freeze for four years and not to confine it to the property taxes but to extend it to the business taxes and the personal income taxes."

John J. Gilbert, III, president of the Rent Stabilization Association, thought that the mayor's upbeat messages were a positive sign but said the RSA would also like to see a longer tax freeze, preferably for five years. "It's essential that the industry get that to get that back on its feet," Gilbert explained.

City Council President Andrew Stein, said, in a statement, that the promise of holding the line on additional property taxes for two years is a "meaningless sop." The steep property tax increases have already driven thousands of properties into default, he said. "What is needed for real stability and eventual recovery is a four-year across-the-board freeze, plus cuts in particularly onerous and counter-productive taxes such as the commercial occupancy tax."

Michael Lappin, president of the Community Preservation Corp., believes it is a good idea to take city buildings and turn them over to private ownership. "I would also suggest that there should be a grave concern about the privately-owned housing in these neighborhoods and there should be a renewed focus on those so we don't have a repetition of what happened in the 70's," he said. Lappin said the CPC is working with the city now on what ways can best be developed to stop potential abandonment.

Gilbert thought that the turning over of city-owned property was heading in the right direction. The management aspects, however, were unclear. He also did not think that the city should be training young people to manage the properties, "Why should those people who have not done a very good job train newcomers?" he asked. Gilbert did think it would be good for private industry to get in there and train the people.

PHOTO : New York City Mayor David Dinkins delivered his second State of the City address to a standing-room-only crowd at City Hall.
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Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:real estate industry, New York City Mayor David Dinkins
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Jan 8, 1992
Words:840
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