Pol Position: Council Overrides Mayoral Veto

For the first time in over a decade, the city council overrode a suite of bills aimed at expanding a city voucher program.

The proposed reforms would change eligibility criteria for accessing CityFHEPS vouchers, eliminate the 90-day shelter stay qualification (the only part of the legislative package that the Mayor supports) and allow people who make 50 percent of the average median income rather than be above 200% of the federal poverty level.

While the council has projected the legislation to cost around $10.6 billion over five years; Mayor Adams’s projected costs of the program is significantly higher at $17.6 billion. Mayor Adams has argued that the program is too expensive and exceeds the authority of the council, potentially setting up a legal challenge over the legislation.

The mayor’s veto was handedly overridden 42-8, and signals a continued fracture in the relationship between the council and the mayor. It has been reported in previous weeks in outlets like Crain’s New York that the relationship with the council had hit an all time low.

That notion was only reinforced in the days leading up to the vote. On July 6 Mayor Adams released an op-ed in the New York Daily News laying out his reasons for vetoing the housing package, which the council released an annotated version criticizing his arguments in return.

We will have to wait and see to see how the legal process shakes out and whether the bills will be fully adopted. But this week also marks continued deterioration of the relationship between the council and the mayor.