Published: Autumn 1999
COMPARATIVE STUDY OF 1997
In housing cooperatives and condominiums, owners each pay a monthly fee
to cover their share of the cost of owning and operating the building.
These charges can vary greatly from one building to another, depending
on the level of service, the attentiveness of management--based on the
policies set by the board--and, in cooperatives, the amount, interest
rate and principle payments on the underlying mortgage and the property
taxes on the building. Condominiums do not have underlying mortgages,
and their unit owners each receive an individual property tax bill. Since
these two items typically account for about half of the monthly charges
in a cooperative, they must be considered if a realistic comparison is
to be made between these two forms of home ownership.
To facilitate effective cost comparisons, CNYC annually publishes a Comparative
Study of Operating Costs compiled from data in the financial statements
of participating cooperatives and condominiums. This information is most
helpful in determining whether your building is operating economically
CNYC is currently compiling the Comparative Study of 1998 Operating Costs--presenting
data on hundreds of buildings in six categories--small cooperatives, lofts,
East side cooperatives, West side cooperatives, larger cooperatives outside
of Manhattan, and condominiums. Code numbers identify each participating
building to ensure anonymity.
The Study analyzes all data on a per-room basis, beginning with the current
assessment and mortgage figures for participating buildings, as well as
the maintenance cost. It then lists amounts spent per room on wages, fuel,
utilities, repairs and maintenance, insurance, management costs, administrative
costs, water & sewer fees, property tax, and debt service. When possible,
elevator maintenance and legal and accounting costs are each listed separately.
The Study also presents summary statistics, calculating the averages and
median for each item, and the average portion of total operating budget
devoted to each category.
Each CNYC member and subscriber will receive its own copy of the Comparative
Study of 1998 Operating Costs. Additional copies can be purchased from
CNYC for $5.
CHARTER REVISION PROPOSALS
MAY POSE THREATS TO PROPERTY TAX PAYERS
The New York City Charter Revision Commission has produced a number of
proposals which will be presented to the voters for their approval in
November. Very tight restraints on the ability of the City Council to
levy new taxes will leave the property tax as the one ready source of
funding. If passed, the Charter revisions could force a return to the
situation of the late 1980s when the City used substantial property taxes
increases every year to meet its fiscal needs. A much sounder fiscal policy
exists today, with the aggregate property tax levy maintained at a stable
point for the last six years.
Please do not fail to vote on November 2nd. Please carefully consider
the proposals of the Charter Revision Commission and cast your vote effectively
on these issues.
BUILDING EMPLOYEES' THREE-YEAR
EXPIRES IN APRIL 2000
Every three years, at midnight on the 20th of April, comes the expiration
of the contract between Local 32B-32J of the Building Service Employees
International Union and the owners of residential apartment buildings
in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. The Realty Advisory
Board on Labor Relations, Inc. (RAB) is the bargaining representative
for the majority of buildings in New York City in negotiating the successor
contract. CNYC is represented on the Board of Directors of the RAB by
its executive director, Mary Ann Rothman, who has been a member of the
negotiating team for the last six contracts.
As in years past, every effort will be made to reach an equitable agreement
in a timely manner. However, since union leadership is new this year,
we must prepare for an arduous negotiation, with strong demands from the
union for increases in wages and benefits. To help members prepare for
the negotiations, CNYC has scheduled three meetings--one on December 2,1999,
and another on February 23, 2000, to brainstorm for provisions to improve
the new contract and to help buildings prepare their residents to cope
with a strike if negotiations break down. The meeting on April 18, 2000,
will help members with last-minute preparations.
A detailed introduction to labor issues will be featured in the Winter
issue of this Newsletter, and in the spring CNYC will revise and distribute
to members its booklet entitled In the Event of a Strike. . . Preparedness
information will also be provided on CNYC's World Wide Web Information
Center. Once agreement is reached, the CNYC Website will publish the details.
In a full-service cooperative, labor costs typically consume a fifth
to a quarter of the budget. Thus the provisions and the wage schedules
negotiated in this contract will have a strong impact. For a preview of
contract issues, and for answers to your questions about dealing with
your building employees, join representatives of the RAB at their afternoon
workshop at CNYC's 19th Annual Housing Conference.