Preliminary Report Released on Charter Revision, Commission to Hold More Hearings

By Jean Brannum |

The Charter Revision Commission has released its preliminary summary of public comments, and there are still many opportunities for New Yorkers to comment on the changes they want made to the Charter. 

More than 80 New Yorkers spoke at the hearings and there are over 1,400 written comments on ways to improve how city agencies function. Film permits, waterfront development, and street cleaning were main points in the preliminary report. The commission report follows hearings from all boroughs. 

The New York City Charter is essentially the city’s constitution explaining government agencies and their duties to its citizens. The mayor established a new commission in May 2024 and charged them to assess the efficiency and responsiveness of the city government. 

One of the top comments voiced during the hearings and in written comments was on the subject of modernization of agencies. The charter was amended over 100 times between 1989 and 2010, according to a press release. For example, currently, elected or appointed officials in the city must secure a public bond. The practice dates back 1872. Comments made towards this issue called to get rid of the outdated practice. 

Other comments called for improvement of services provided to Minority-and women-owned businesses, suggesting it may be beneficial to create an agency to facilitate specific benefits. 

Another key item was fiscal responsibility. The City Council votes on many local laws and issues, including the recently passed 2025 budget. Under the proposed charter revisions, the City Council would have to publish a statement on the fiscal impact of a new law early in the legislative process. Currently these fiscal impact statements are issued when a bill is close to becoming law. 

There are more hearings scheduled across the city through the month of July. The next one in Queens is on July 22 at 5pm at the Queens Public Library central location in Jamaica. The next Brooklyn hearing is on July 25 at 2pm at the Brooklyn Public Library central location in Prospect Park. 

Certain meetings have themes for discussion topics, but the public can talk about whatever they choose. Commission Communications Director Frank Dwyer encourages anyone interested in the process to submit comments or attend meetings, either in person or through Zoom. 

“We really want people to make sure they’re having their voice heard,” Dwyer said.

Dwyer noted that anyone is allowed to give a statement on the charter including elected officials, unions, or agencies. 

Commission Director Diane Savino, an Astoria native, thanked everyone for their input on modernizing and streamlining the city government. She also said that the ideas have sparked many discussions on charter improvements. 

Final proposals for revisions to the charter will be added to the ballot in the November election where voters ultimately decide if the revisions go into effect.

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