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Budget, Education & City Services

Community Board Five supports the aim of The Save our Storefronts Bill S8865

At the regularly scheduled monthly Community Board Five meeting on Thursday, October 8, 2020, the following resolution passed with a vote of 40 in favor; 0 opposed; 3 abstaining:

WHEREAS, small businesses and nonprofits throughout the New York state and New York City have been severely affected by the COVID pandemic and resultant closures; and

WHEREAS, these closures have made it difficult if not impossible for many small businesses and nonprofits to survive; and

WHEREAS, the rent obligation of these small businesses and nonprofits are, in most cases, their single largest expense, and 

WHEREAS, up to 70,000 small businesses are unlikely to survive without some sort of assistance; and 

WHEREAS, the City and State are expecting an avalanche of evictions in the coming months; and   

WHEREAS, the Save our Storefront Bill provides a plan to prevent small businesses and nonprofits from going out of business, and 

WHEREAS, the Save our Storefronts Bill plan seeks a balanced approach of shared sacrifice between the small businesses/nonprofits, landlords and the government to stave off mass closures; and 

WHEREAS, under the bill, a business owner or nonprofit who can demonstrate that they have suffered a loss of income as a result of government-ordered COVID related restrictions would be entitled to reduced rent; and

WHEREAS, the rent reduction would be set at the lesser of 20% of monthly income or ⅓ of the contractual rent obligation to the landlord; and

WHEREAS, the landlord would additionally be required to waive 20% of the tenant’s monthly contractual rent; and

WHEREAS, the landlord would then apply to the government to cover the difference between what the business/nonprofit paid in rent and the contractual agreement less 20%; and

WHEREAS, the government would pay the landlord using a commercial rent relief fund that would be established by the bill; and

WHEREAS,  the commercial rent relief fund from which any reimbursement would be made would contain up to $500 million dollars that would be earmarked from federal assistance dollars that will hopefully come to the state; and 

WHEREAS, the bill is premised on receiving federal dollars; and 

WHEREAS, this bill would only apply to small businesses of 25 employees or less; and

WHEREAS, the sponsor is open to considering expanding the number of employees that constitute small businesses under the bill; and 

WHEREAS, a 20% give back by landlords was felt to be fair; however as the intent of the bill is to protect small business and not subsidize inflated rents, a potential cap on reimbursement may be considered, and

WHEREAS, the intent of this bill is to provide a framework for using federal dollars; and

WHEREAS, there is still much uncertainty and therefore much that needs to be finalized with regard to specifics; and 

WHEREAS, if the federal money is not forthcoming this bill cannot be effectuated, therefore be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five supports S8865 so long as the monies are received to effectuate its goals; and be it further  

RESOLVED, Community Board Five encourages landlord involvement in the further iteration of this bill; and be it further

RESOLVED, Community Board Give supports the balanced approach of shared sacrifice, the overall aim of the legislation and the advance plan for the use of any federal funding while recognizing that there will be adjustments given rapidly changing circumstances.

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