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Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums
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On the Money
32BJ Contract Details, Water Rates, Operating Cost Study, SHIE/DHE, MCI Opportunity

Published: Spring 2018

32BJ CONTRACT DOLLARS
The contract concluded with Local 32BJ of the Building Service Employees Union on Friday, April 13, 2018 includes wage increase for porters, concierges, door persons and elevator operators of $23 dollars per week in the first year, $25 in the second, $30 in the third and $32 in the final year, when these workers will earn solid middle class salaries of $55, 000. Increases for handy persons and superintendents were slightly higher. These increases commence on April 21st of each year of the contract.

There is a separate contract for Resident Managers, (superintendents in buildings employing six or more employees). This contract expires on June 20th, but its terms were a part of this negotiation. Effective January 1, 2019, employers, in their absolute discretion and revocable as they wish, will have the ability to make additional contributions to the 401K plans of their covered Superintendents and Resident Managers.

Increases in benefits contributions follow the Commercial Contract, with increases taking effect in January of each year. This contract calls for additional contributions to the Pension Plan of $4 per week each year. There are no new increases to the Training Fund or the Legal Fund.

Employer contributions to the Health Plan of each year increased by $20.15 per week on January 1, 2018. They will increase by $24.93 on January 1, 2019. These terns were negotiated in the Commercial Contract. This contract established caps on 2020 and 2021 employer contributions to the Health Fund and Pension Fund at $17.56 per week and $18.31 per week respectively . Continued suspension of the 'Maintenance of Benefits Clause" means that employers' responsibility to the benefits plans cannot increase beyond these dollar amounts. Full details can be found on the website of the Realty Advisory Board at www.rabolr.com

BRONX CONTRACT NEXT YEAR
These contracts cover building service employees in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and Staten Island that are members of Local 32BJ. There is a separate contract for Bronx buildings with 32BJ (formerly 32E) employees. It will expire on March 15, 2109. A successor contract will be negotiated by the Bronx Realty Advisory Board (BRAB).

COMPARATIVE STUDY OF 2016 OPERATING COSTS All CNYC
members and Professional Subscribers have received the Comparative Study of 2016 Operating Costs as they renewed their affiliation with CNYC for the calendar year 2018. CNYC is currently preparing the Comparative Study of 2017 Operating Costs and seeks to include as many financial statements as possible in this Study. Participant anonymity is protected by assigning a code number to each cooperative and condominium in the Study.

The Comparative Study provides a framework for deciding how well one's own cooperative or condominium is operating. It analyzes operating costs in eight categories: 1) East Side Cooperatives, 2) West Side Cooperatives; 3) Small Manhattan Cooperatives (with fewer than 100 rooms) 4) Small Brooklyn Cooperatives, 5) Larger Cooperatives Outside of Manhattan, 6) Condominiums in Manhattan, 7) Condominiums Outside of Manhattan and 8) Lofts.

Except in the case of lofts, all data is presented on a dollars-per-room-per-year basis, beginning with the current assessment and mortgage figures and carrying charges. The Study then lists dollars-perroom spent in 2016 on labor, heat, utilities, repairs and maintenance, insurance, management, administrative costs, water & sewer fees, and (except for condominiums) property taxes and debt service. When financial statements separate the amounts paid for elevator maintenance and for attorneys' and accountants' fees, those items are listed separately. Loft data is presented on the bases of dollarsper- 250 square feet for easy comparison with the per-room data in the other categories. An introductory narrative explains what is included in each column of the Study and attempts to provide answers to the questions that readers will ask.

Following the charts of individual data for the year, the Study provides a ten year recap of summary statistics, calculating the averages and medians for each item and the average portion of total operating budget devoted to each one.

Any CNYC member cooperative or condominium with data in the 2016 Study receives notification of its code number when the booklet is sent, so that they can easily find their statistics. CNYC members are welcome to copy pages of the Comparative Study to share information among board members and with shareholders or unit owners. Additional copies can be purchased from CNYC for $35.

This year, for the second time, Decision Fish has created an interactive online chart to facilitate comparing data in the Comparative Study. With your building code number for the Comparative Study, you can scroll down the Comparative Study tab at www.CNYC.coop to bring up a graphic display of your building's data and learn whether if fall in the red, the yellow or the green as compared to specific other buildings that you can select, or as compared to your category or to the Comparative Study as a whole. If your data isn't in the 2016 Study, you can enter codes for buildings with similar numbers of rooms to study them closely and perhaps this will encourage you to send CNYC your 2017 financials for the next Study.

MODEST INCREASE REQUESTED IN FISCAL 2019 WATER RATES
New York City's water system is among the largest in the world, delivering more than one billion gallons of high quality drinking water every day to more than eight million people in the city and four counties north of the city (see page 11). The City's 14 wastewater treatment plants treat roughly 1.2 billion gallons of wastewater daily. All of this is administered by the Water Board. Through the water rate, the Water Board must raise sufficient funds to service all the water needs of the City. For two years, there has been no increase in water rates. For fiscal 2019, the Water Board has proposed a 2.36% increase. This brings water rates from $3.81 to $3.90 for 100 cubic feet of water used. Sewer rates are 159% of the water rate, so they go from $6.06 to $6.20 for 100 cubic feet.

ABATEMENTS & EXEMPTIONS CONTINUING CHALLENGES
The Department of Finance continues to work hard to make sure all NYC cooperatives and condominiums annually enter information on its online form, where any changes in primary residency must be recorded. Even in a year when there are no changes, to stay in the abatement program the appropriate box must be checked on this form. Questions continue to arise regarding primary residency, which require patience and cooperation by all concerned. Authorization for the coop/condo abatement program sunsets in June of 2019 (see page 6). CNYC and the Action Committee for Reasonable Real Estate Taxes will continue to work hard to ensure that the program continues or is replaced by one that is more equitable. At CNYC's 38th annual Housing Conference on Sunday, November 11, 2018, Stephanie Gross of the Department of Finance will provide an Update on Property Tax Abatements & Exemptions.

HIGHER ELIGIBILITY CAPS FOR SENIOR AND DISABILITY EXEMPTIONS
The SHIE (Senior Homeowner Increase Exemption) and DHE (Disabled Homeowner Exemption) are now available to seniors and persons with disabilities whose family income does not exceed $55,399. Qualifying seniors aged 62 or older and qualifying disabled individuals over the age of 18 will have their carrying charges frozen as of the time that they qualify. The Department of Finance required annual financial updates to keep this benefit in place. In a cooperative, a property tax exemption is credited against the property tax on the building. The cooperative must credit this towards the account of the qualifying senior or disabled person.

OPPORTUNITY FOR BUILDINGS WITH RENT REGULATED UNITS CNYC

CNYC thanks Ed Tristram for the following article. Mr. Tristram is president of Ed Tristram Associates, a real estate consultant firm specializing in paperwork related to capital improvements. In the last 25 years, the firm has done thousands of filings related to capital improvements, all for clients who own or manage apartment buildings.

There's a big new financial subsidy available for many cooperatives and condominiums throughout New York State - the MCI Abatement.

  • What buildings qualify? Every cooperative and condominium in New York State that has one or more rent stabilized and/or rent controlled apartments is eligible for the MCI Abatement. When these buildings make qualifying Major Capital Improvements ("MCI's"), the owners of the building (in this case, the cooperative or condominium) can get up to 11.1% of the total cost of the capital work rebated to them.

  • Why is the government giving all this money to co-ops and condos? Here's the story: when the Rent Stabilization Code was renewed in 2015, all MCI rent increases were made smaller and in compensation the new MCI Abatement was created. It goes to the building owners - the co-op or condo itself, not to the owners of the regulated apartments where the MCI rent increase is applied. This is because it's the BUILDING OWNERS who paid for the capital work.

  • What needs to happen for us to get these funds? First there must be an MCI rent increase for the stabilized/rent controlled tenants. When the State DHCR orders a rent increase, they certify the eligible cost of the MCI work. Of this figure, either 8.25% or 11.1% of this amount will be rebated to the building owner.

  • What kinds of capital work qualify? The rules for this are lengthy and complex. In general, when spending $100,000 and up on capital work it is a good idea to check to see if it's eligible for an MCI Abatement. Applications can only be filed within 24 months after the work is complete.

  • Will the full amount come in one year? Yes, all in one NYC fiscal year, which runs July 1 to following June 30. For cooperatives it comes as a credit on the property tax bill. For condominiums, each unit owner can get a credit on their property tax bill. You will get this dollar reduction in your tax bill the fiscal year after the rent increase is ordered.

  • Will this interfere with the co-op/condo tax property tax abatement program? No. The NYC Department of Finance has categorically stated that the MCI Abatement will interfere with no other tax benefits.

 
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