STANDARDS ARE NEEDED FOR COMMUNITY BENEFIT AGREEMENTS
Comptroller Liu Initiates Task Force to Review Best Practices and Draft Standard Framework
NEW YORK, NY - City Comptroller John C. Liu stated the following in response to questions about the need for more oversight into Community Benefit Agreements associated with development projects that consistently fall short of public expectations.
"Community Benefit Agreements have become commonplace whenever private developers seek public assistance, ranging in form from tax subsidies and no-bid contracting to zoning changes and invocation of eminent domain. In the absence of standards, however, these agreements will become more problematic and ultimately irrelevant.
"From Atlantic Yards to Yankee Stadium to the Columbia University expansion, the public has seen a string of broken promises to communities and questionable involvement by some government officials. Furthermore, an additional layer of unpredictability confronts developers when they engage in private negotiations over benefits associated with their projects. In fact, studies have singled out New York City's community benefit agreements as examples of what not to do.
"It is time for this embarrassment to end. In the coming months, I'll establish standards for community benefit agreements that are accountable, transparent, consistent and inclusive. To that end, I will form a task force including business, labor and community representatives that will thoroughly examine the issue of community benefit agreements and propose best practices. It is simply common sense to have clear standards that ensure benefits for the public when private developers receive benefits from the public. I look forward to working with the Mayor and the City Council to implement a new approach that will place our city at the forefront of community engagement in economic development projects."