City Councilman Michael Nelson is demanding the United States Department of State reverse a policy allowing foreign governments to skip out on millions of dollars in city property taxes.
His criticism comes as a panel of federal judges ruled that foreign governments are exempt from local property taxes, citing State Department policy.
But the policy is new, according to the local legislator, and it’s a snub to city residents.
Nelson said a 2009 decision by the State Department exempts foreign governments from local property taxes on portions of their diplomatic office being used for non-diplomatic purposes. According to Nelson, the fed’s stance prior to the new policy was that United Nations missions must pay relevant taxes on those properties, but now the city can’t get them to pay up.
Nelson’s office estimates that New York City is expected to lose approximately $260 million in back taxes and about $7 million a year in current tax revenues.
“Although I am proud and honored that New York City is home to the United Nations, I am deeply concerned about the impact this court ruling will have on local revenue and the message it will send to other nations,” said Councilman Nelson. “I recognize the right to exempt certain properties occupied by foreign governments from paying property taxes yet I firmly believe this should not apply to properties that are used for anything other than diplomatic purposes. Therefore, it is more imperative now than ever that the State Department reverse its policy.”
Shopping cart dying on the rocks. (Courtesy of MSniceguy, August 2010)
Ashes to ashes. Metal to metal.
Here I am, taking my last breath. I know you didn’t see me covered by the gentle waves hitting the rocks, and I know it’s hard to see my clunky metal when you’re thinking of the lovely (though, somewhat hazy) Verrazano Bridge view.
If my wheels must take its last roll, it’s better that I die here with this lovely sunset than buried under some cold, dark soil.
A reader sent us this photo and a note saying Century Mart of Avenue U, located at 2309 Avenue U, appears to be closed for good. The Asian food market has served the neighborhood for several years, and there didn’t seem to be any advance notice about its closure. We tried calling the business’s number, but found it was disconnected.
In the window of the store is a sign advertising commercial lofts for rent on the second and third floors of the building, but no information about the ground-level business. Could it be temporary? Keep an eye on this space and let us know if you see any changes.
Blame the bureaucrats and the locally elected. But don’t blame the guys down there every couple of days, working to keep what’s there from sinking further into the sea. A reader sent in photos of these fellahs at work this week, as well as some of the same people from December. These city contractors have been there on-and-off since the storm hit, placing sandbags and pushing back water and muck from the parking lot after the storm. What remains of Plumb Beach remains because of the hard work these people put in. And they deserve some thanks, even if it is their job, because Plumb Beach is the way it is because so many are not doing their jobs.
Oh, you’ve never heard of Dead Horse Bay? The old mill area, turned manufacturing zone (of fertilizer, created from dead animals), turned landfill, turned nature preserve – sits alongside Floyd Bennett Field by the entrance to Gerritsen Inlet. It’s rich with history, and perhaps richer with filth and pollution.
It’s the former that drew musician and photographer “chvad” to tour the area, but it’s the latter that most impressed him. He wrote, “This place and the surrounding areas don’t seem anything at all like Brooklyn. Not a lot of people and lot of vegetation. Also, an enormous amount of pollution on the shores. Some parts of the beach seemed to primarily be made of glass. If those aren’t reason enough to be careful, the beach also had it’s share of needles washed ashore.”
His slideshow, above, captures a lot of that grit and filth, yet in a hauntingly beautiful way. Check out his site to find more photos and learn about his music.
Times are definitely tough, and many of you are probably considering a switch in careers. Well, if my extraordinary success (har har har!) hasn’t convinced you that blogging is the way to go, then real estate may be worth a look as the market picks back up.
To that end, Fillmore Real Estate is hosting a free career seminar tonight. The event covers the pros and cons of a real estate career and will help you make an informed decision. They’ll also be discussing some practical steps to get going, including how to choose a company to join and getting licensed.
And, for those of you really struggling, there will be free wine and cheese. Reservations are necessary, so check out the details of the event after the jump.
A reader is already looking to take us up on our offer last week to help owners reunite with their lost animals. This young cat was found on Monday, when it walked right into the home our reader. It’s a sultry kitty, as you can see. The reader says the kitten is very friendly – and very bony. It was found near East 13th Street between Avenue Y and Avenue Z. It also has a black collar with black bell, but no name tag.
If you are the owner or have any information about who this cat may belong to, e-mail us or call (718) 332-2335.
Ever seen Coney Island beach so empty in the summer? I haven’t. That’s why I’m glad reader Allan B. thought it was worth sharing the view from his quiet Saturday morning visit to the shore. The beach even looks clean. Imagine that…
Bay People's new flier. First spotted on theatlantic.com (click to enlarge)
According to a new flier making rounds on the blocks near the proposed Voorhies Avenue mosque, Bay People, Inc., is putting the $30,000+ it raised to use by retaining a “COMPETENT” lawyer for the “FIRST part of the legal process.”
Other than that, there’s not much to be said about the flier. Except that their design skills are certainly improving.
We hope to hear from Bay People soon about their legal strategy, as the mosque property owner’s rights appear to be secure so long as the building remains within zoning guidelines. So far, no plans have been approved for the location.