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February 19, 2012
State Senator Squadron wrote a letter to the NY Daily News recommending that Governor Cuomo transform the leadership of BPCA from its current state-appointed, nonrepresentative, leaders, such as Gayle Horwitz and Bill Thompson, neither of whom even live in BPCA, to a more locally represented leadership. He stops short of calling for BPCA to be folded into the city and eliminated altogether.
Squadron wrote, “New York City holds an option to disband the Battery Park City Authority — but an attempt to simply fold it into the city’s general operations would not fly with a community that pays significantly more for services than the average New Yorker.
Still, the city’s option does present an opportunity to increase local representation and ensure greater reinvestment locally.
With the appointment of a single area resident to the board, Gov. Cuomo has taken a step in the right direction; but the community’s voice should not depend on good news floating down the river from Albany. Agreements that I worked on to create new governance for Brooklyn Bridge Park and Governors Island provide a model: City control along with permanent appointments by the local community board and City Council, state Assembly and state Senate representatives.
A new structure with local representation could also help protect Battery Park City’s dollars, which come straight from its community through ground rent, community service fees, and PILOTs (payment in lieu of taxes). Of course, under any circumstance, the first obligation will continue to be area maintenance and services, existing funding agreements (mostly with the ity in the form of tax-equivalent payments) and bondholders.
But surplus revenues above these obligations, which today are collected in a fund that is jointly controlled by the city and state, should have stronger protections. Just a couple of years ago, $200 million of these surplus dollars were swept away in one shot to close the state budget gap. Battery Park Citys surplus fund has also been used to fund affordable housing across the city.”
The full article can be found here.