Bloomberg Set To Scale Back Fines That Frustrated Business Owners

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Source: nysenate.gov

Source: nysenate.gov

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration is set to scale back a series of unpopular fines that many business owners believed were overly aggressive and unfair. Capital New York is reporting that fine-carrying summonses, many related to improper signage, would be reduced to tickets with no penalties for the first offense.

The battle over the unpopular fines came to an ugly head earlier this month when we reported on the Department of Consumer Affairs’ (DCA) effort to increase revenue by hiring more inspectors to doll out fines. DCA Commissioner Jonathan Mintz testified to the City Council that he doubled the DCA’s revenue through this maneuver. While Mintz was honest about the DCA’s practice, he drew fire from Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who called for his resignation.

In response to all the negativity over the fines, the Bloomberg administration announced that a new system to be proposed to the Council which would create “cure periods,” where businesses can correct minor errors before receiving fines. Evelyn Erskine, a spokeswoman for Bloomberg, elaborated on the new initiative.

“When an individual or business breaks the law, violations are key to ensuring behaviors that could potentially threaten the health and safety of New Yorkers aren’t repeated. While the city cannot pick and choose which laws to enforce, in cases where corrective action can be taken without lasting damage, cure periods can go a long way in helping small businesses and individuals follow the law before being fined for violations,” Erskine said.

Ersinke noted that had these reforms been in place during the 2013 fiscal year, businesses would have saved $3.8 million dollars.

This comes in close succession to yesterday’s news about Councilman Vincent Gentile’s effort to reform the restaurant inspection system, which is also notorious for driving business owners bonkers over inconsistent inspector practices.

Seems things might get a little bit better for our small businesses, yes?

  • JustMe

    The Bloomberg administration has legally been mugging the small business owners. That is such a disgrace. Are all inspectors honest when it comes to inspecting a premises, or do they tack on violations that don’t exist, thus unfairly fining stores to make their quota. Just a consumer who shops daily in the local stores.

    • guest

      The Bloomberg administration has been mugging EVERYONE. He doesn’t care now because his rein of terror is drawing to a close and he’s made the money he wanted. $31 billion. This crook and his fellow cronies belong in a jail cell.

      • BrooklynBus

        Exactly. If he didn’t do this, the next mayor would have done it anyway on Jan 1, 2014. Doing it now he saves face. But the question remains, why did he raise the fines in the first place if he in any way cared about small businesses? What about the increase in parking meter rates every six months that also hurt small businesses? Who will roll them back?

    • MyBrooklyn

      Its money grab from everywhere starting with bus lanes to driver responsibility assessment program fee and everything in between