Affordable housing developers in New York City face a controversial new law that calls for the extensive reporting of wages and other data for projects receiving city funding.

After being passed by the City Council in July, the legislation (Intro 730) was headed to Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Even if he vetoes the law, the council could still override his vote.

Under the rule, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) would have to report detailed information on the subsidies awarded to projects and provide data on the wages of every individual performing project work by the developer or a contractor.

The move is aimed at increasing transparency at the department and the many affordable housing developments financed by HPD each year, but critics say the requirements will only create more red tape and place a huge burden on the industry, especially smaller developers. Industry representatives point out that there could be 50 subcontractors on a project and thousands of wage reports annually.

The New York State Association for Affordable Housing (NYSAFAH) called for the elimination of the wagereporting requirements.

“These mandates impose untenable administrative burdens on local and small businesses, putting them at a significant competitive disadvantage, with only the largest businesses able to compete,” says NYSAFAH, which estimates it would cost $40 million to implement Intro 730.

HPD Commissioner Mathew Wambua has also been critical. “HPD already vigorously enforces all applicable wage laws,” he said in a statement. “Collecting and stockpiling massive amounts of personal and sensitive wage information offers no clear benefits to the public.”

N.J. COAH Fight Goes On

Drama over New Jersey's Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) continues to unfold.

On Aug. 10, the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey ruled that the state could not seize money in municipal housing trust funds without convening the board of COAH, according to the Fair Share Housing Center.

The ruling came after mayors across New Jersey received letters from the state seeking the money in their housing trusts funds. Local jurisdictions had until Aug. 13 to respond to the letter, which was signed by the council's acting executive director.

COAH was responsible for implementing the state's fair housing laws, establishing local affordable housing obligations, and overseeing local housing trust funds. However, it was heavily criticized for being overly bureaucratic.

Gov. Chris Christie abolished COAH last year, and the fight continues over the fate of the council and the local funds. The state had planned on taking up to $200 million or so for its own budget.

The court said that the COAH board had not met to OK the demand.

It is clear that the fight is far from over.