Office of the Governor

Gov. Cuomo at a 2015 briefing about NYCHA funding.

Governor Cuomo’s office on Monday offered New York City officials new authority in how it hires firms to do NYCHA repair work.

In a letter to the mayor’s office, City Council and NYCHA tenant leaders, the governor’s counsel, Alphonso David, said Cuomo would support changing state law to allow NYCHA to award “design/build” contracts, which can save money by putting one firm in charge of drawing up plans for a project and then building it.

David also said Cuomo was willing to declare a state of emergency at NYCHA, but indicated city officials should decide what the terms of that declaration might be.

“An Emergency Declaration can take many forms and is flexible to meet the appropriate need,” David wrote. “The declaration could include a replacement of existing management, the appointment of an independent monitor, the identification and selection of contractors to be responsible for repairs, and/or the appointment of a public health monitor to focus on lead testing. We seek your guidance in determining which option you deem preferable.”

It was just about a month ago that David indicated the governor’s openness to such a declaration, which a number of city officials had requested as a way to expedite work to fix NYCHA’s boilers and deal with lead paint concerns.

Back in February, David opened up the question of funding, which is critical: Even with streamlined contracting procedures, NYCHA—which faces a $25 billion capital backlog—is going to need more money to return to satisfactory condition the places where at least 400,000 people live. The federal government is primarily responsible for funding NYCHA, but the city and state also built some of the housing the authority now operates. Fifty-four of NYCHA’s 326 developments were originally state financed.

David wrote in February that Cuomo has provided “unprecedented and historic” levels of funding to the authority.

According to data City Limits obtained from the state comptroller, state payments to NYCHA have soared over the past couple years. But the vast majority of that money, according to NYCHA, is actually federal money from FEMA for Sandy recovery. So the state is sending NYCHA more money, but not from its own coffers—the new dough is from the feds and for a specific and new need. See the data below.

Calendar year and governor Real amount of state payments to NYCHA Real amount of non-FEMA state payments to NYCHA
1996 (Pataki) $1,927,906 $1,927,906
1997 (Pataki) $34,800,580 $34,800,580
1998 (Pataki) $19,604,067 $19,604,067
1999 (Pataki) $21,092,671 $21,092,671
2000 (Pataki) $17,741,184 $17,741,184
2001 (Pataki) $17,613,194 $17,613,194
2002 (Pataki) $21,712,255 $21,712,255
2003 (Pataki) $13,747,150 $13,747,150
2004 (Pataki) $13,842,767 $13,842,767
2005 (Pataki) $11,156,715 $11,156,715
2006 (Pataki) $9,906,914 $9,906,914
2007 (Spitzer) $9,055,362 $9,055,362
2008 (Spitzer) $13,221,101 $13,221,101
2009 (Paterson) $8,745,816 $8,745,816
2010 (Paterson) $7,713,105 $7,713,105
2011 (Cuomo) $6,053,551 $6,053,551
2012 (Cuomo) $9,017,321 $5,329,289
2013 (Cuomo) $20,912,713 $4,660,796
2014 (Cuomo) -$7,766,838 $4,800,892
2015 (Cuomo) $5,319,371 $4,855,363
2016 (Cuomo) $105,952,680 $4,300,272
2017 (Cuomo) $252,092,444 $0
2018 (Cuomo) $66,295,500 $0