New York, New York

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New York, New York
Seal of NYC.jpg
General information
Bill de Blasio.png
Mayor:Bill de Blasio
Mayor party:Democratic
Last mayoral election:2013
Next mayoral election:2017
Last city council election:2013
Next city council election:2017
City council seats:51
2014 FY Budget:$73 billion
City website
Composition data
Population in 2013:8.4 million
Gender:51.5% Female
Race:White 71.2%
White Not-Hispanic 57.6%
African American 17.5%
Asian 8.0%
Native American 1.0%
Pacific Islander 0.1%
Two or More 2.2%
Ethnicity:Hispanic 18.2%
Median household income:$57,683
High school graduation rate:84.9%
College graduation rate:32.8%
Related New York offices
New York Congressional Delegation
New York State Legislature
New York state executive offices
New York is a city in New York and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. As of 2013, its population was 8.4 million, making it the largest city in the United States.[1] New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and entertainment. The home of the United Nations Headquarters, New York is an important center for international affairs and is widely deemed the cultural capital of the world. The city is also referred to as New York City or the City of New York to distinguish it from the state of New York, of which it is a part.

Located on a large natural harbor on the Atlantic coast of the Northeastern United States, New York City consists of five boroughs: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island. Although all five boroughs are technically their own counties, they do not have functioning county governments and are instead administered by the city.

City government

See also: Mayor-council government

The city of New York utilizes a "strong mayor" and city council system. In this form of municipal government, the city council serves as the city's primary legislative body and the mayor serves as the city's chief executive.


The mayor serves as the city's chief executive, and is responsible for proposing a budget, signing legislation into law, appointing departmental directors and committee members and overseeing the city's day-to-day operations. The mayor also possesses veto powers.[2] Bill de Blasio is the current Mayor of New York.[3]

City council

The New York City Council is the city's primary legislative body. It is responsible for adopting the city budget, approving mayoral appointees, overseeing the use of municipal properties, levying taxes and making or amending city laws, policies and ordinances.[4]


The city council consists of fifty-one members, each of whom are elected in partisan elections by the city's fifty-one districts.[5]

A full list of city council members can be found here.

Council committees

The New York City Council features thirty-six standing and ad hoc committees, which focus on individual policy and legislative issues. Generally, the drafting of city legislation begins with the committees.[6]

For a list of New York's committees and committee members, see here.


The city's budget process operates by Fiscal Years running from July 1 to June 30 of the next year. The City Charter gives responsibility for drafting an expense and capital budget to the Mayor, which must then be submitted to the City Council for review and approval. The city's budget is made up of several parts. The expense budget lays out proposed operating appropriations, as well as debt service. The capital budget sets proposed appropriations for four years of capital projects. A revenue budget must project estimated city revenues. The city is required by state law to maintain a balanced budget.[7]


The budget for fiscal year 2014 totaled $73 billion. It included funding for 1,000 new police officer positions, free school lunches, increased revenues to address homelessness and a commission to overhaul the city’s property tax system.[8] Budget negotiations between Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Mayor de Blasio went more smoothly than in years past, when a Democratic City Council often sparred with Republican, and later Independent, Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Mark-Viverito defended the $100 million cost of hiring new police officers by noting the figure would be offset by reducing the overtime paid to current officers. Police Commissioner William Bratton said he would rather give raises to the nearly 35,000 current officers, but would not decline the additional manpower. The property tax commission will look to reform the currently $21 billion system, which critics say unfairly places a burden on rental buildings and commercial properties while luxury homeowners do not have to pay what they should.[9]

Contact information

Office of the City Clerk
141 Worth Street
New York, NY 10013
Phone: 212-NEW-YORK
Email: Contact Form
Office Hours: Varies by Office

Office of the Mayor
City Hall
New York, NY 10007
Phone: 212-NEW-YORK
Email: Contact Form

Click here for information on how to contact individual city council members.


In 2013, New York's federal lobbying related expenses amounted to approximately $50,000.[10] The issues for which the city filed in 2013, as well as the number of reports, can be seen in the box below. The issues column lists the generic issues that lobbyists working for local governments are required by law to disclose on quarterly federal disclosure forms.[11][12] The reports column gives the number of reports lobbyists filed in regards to each generic issue. To learn more about the details of the specific issues for which New York filed reports, read the federal disclosure forms by clicking the "Issues" links in the box below. The city of New York maintains a searchable data that contains information about all lobbyists registered with the city and its clients. It can be accessed here.

Federal Lobbying Issues, 2013
Reports Issues
1 Fed Budget & Appropriations

Ballot measures

See also: Local ballot measures, New York

A list of local ballot measures in New York is available here.

Initiative process

See also: Laws governing local ballot measures in New York

New York City is governed by a charter. Initiative is available for charter amendments as provided below:

Indirect process: The charter amendment process is indirect. This means that the local legislative body has a chance to act on the proposed measure before it goes on the ballot. In New York, the city legislative body may not reject the proposal, but if the body fails to approve it, proponents must gather additional signature to place the proposal on the ballot. The city’s legislative body may also adopt proposed charter amendments--even those that fail to garner sufficient signatures. Depending on their subject matter, measures approved by the legislative body may still require a referendum vote.

DocumentIcon.jpg New York Consolidated Laws, Municipal Home Rule, Article 4, Part 2, § 37 (6-7)

Petition form: The petition may consist of separate petition sheets fastened together. Each petition sheet must be signed and verified according to the relevant guidelines for nominating petitions. The petition must contain the proposed law in full. New provisions should be set in italics or underlined. Deleted provisions should be bracketed or struck through.

DocumentIcon.jpg New York Consolidated Laws, Municipal Home Rule, Article 3, § 24 (1)(a) & Article 4, Part 2, § 37 (2, 3, 5 & 8)

Signature requirements: The petition must contain signatures equal to 10% of the last vote for the office of governor or 30,000 signatures (whichever is less). Only those registered to vote as of the last general election may sign the petition. If the city legislative body fails to approve the measure, proponents must gather additional signatures equal to 5% of the last vote for the office of governor or 15,000 signatures (whichever is less).

DocumentIcon.jpg New York Consolidated Laws, Municipal Home Rule, Article 4, Part 2, § 37 (2 & 7)

Circulation period: No time constraints were found on the first round of initiative petitions. If a second round is required, however, it must be filed between two and four months after the first.

DocumentIcon.jpg New York Consolidated Laws, Municipal Home Rule, Article 4, Part 2, § 37 (7)

Circulator restrictions: No restrictions on circulators were identified.

Notary requirement: No notary requirement was identified.

Submitting signatures: Both rounds of petitions are filed with and verified by the city clerk.

DocumentIcon.jpg New York Consolidated Laws, Municipal Home Rule, Article 3, § 24 (1)(a) & Article 4, Part 2, § 37 (2, 5 & 7)

Election procedure: If a second round of signatures is successfully filed and verified, an election on the proposed amendment will appear on the ballot at the next general election at least sixty days after filing.

DocumentIcon.jpg New York Consolidated Laws, Municipal Home Rule, Article 4, Part 2, § 37 (7)

Majority required: Charter amendments only require a simply majority for passage.

DocumentIcon.jpg New York Consolidated Laws, Municipal Home Rule, Article 4, Part 2, § 37 (13)

Conflicting measures: If two or more conflicting measure are approved, the measure with the most affirmative votes will prevail on all points of conflict.

DocumentIcon.jpg New York Consolidated Laws, Municipal Home Rule, Article 4, Part 2, § 37 (13)

Funding Source Requirement: Any charter amendment that requires the expenditure of city funds must specify a funding source. No expenditure required by an approved charter amendment may take effect before the start of the next fiscal year. (Unlike amendments, government reorganizations may rely on normal budgetary processes for funding as long as they do not dictate specific salaries or expenditures.)

DocumentIcon.jpg New York Consolidated Laws, Municipal Home Rule, Article 4, Part 2, § 37 (11) & (12)


Pensions: Pension benefits may not be reduced for members of state or local pension programs. Also, pension benefits are not subject to taxation. State laws governing teacher retirement systems may not be superseded by local laws.

DocumentIcon.jpg New York Constitution, Article V, §7 and Article XVI, §5 & New York Consolidated Laws, Municipal Home Rule, Article 2, § 11

General: In general, cities are prohibited from adopting a local law which supersedes state statute if that local law:

  1. Removes limits on debt/bond issuance
  2. Affects the "maintenance, support or administration" of the local educational system
  3. Affects courts required or provided by Article VI of the NY Constitution
  4. Affects certain aspects of the election law, labor laws, or housing laws
  5. Affects the state comptroller in relation to auditing/examination of municipal accounts or in relation to approving/disapproving the creation or extension of fire districts or special districts.
  6. Changes regulations on railroad crossings and terminal facilities
  7. Relates to the judicial review of civil service dismissals
  8. Makes property owners liable for poorly maintained sidewalks and gutters.

DocumentIcon.jpg New York Consolidated Laws, Municipal Home Rule, Article 2, § 11

Public pensions

See also: New York public pensions


New York City's public pension plan earned a 1.37 percent return on investments in the last fiscal year, well below the expected return of 8 percent.[13]


According to a 2010 report published at Northwestern University, New York City was one of the ten municipalities with the largest amount of unfunded pension liabilities. Nationwide there was $574 billion in unfunded pension liabilities for local pension plans in addition to the $3 trillion in debt facing state-sponsored pension plans.[14] The report stated that the pension plans could be out of money as early at 2025.[14]

In 2010, it was revealed that in 14 cases the city continued to pay pensions to deceased public employees, which totaled to more than $450,000 in pension fraud.[15]

Website evaluation

See also: Evaluation of New York city websites
Budget Y
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Meetings Y
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Elected Officials Y
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Administrative Officials P
Permits, zoning Y
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Audits Y
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Contracts Y
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Lobbying N
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Public Records Y
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Local Taxes Y
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Transparency grading process

The good

  • Current and past budgets are available through the City Council's webpage.[16]
  • Council meeting schedules, agendas, and meetings are available.[17]
  • Contact information is available for the Mayor; names and contact information are available fir City Council members on individual webpages.[18][19]
  • Phone and fax numbers are provided for some Administrative Officials.[20]
  • Zoning and permitting information is available through the Department of City Planning.[21]
  • Current and past audits are posted.[22]
  • City contracts are posted and information regarding procurement is available.[23][24]
  • Freedom of Information Law request form is available, along with contact information for the Freedom of Information Office.[25]
  • Local tax information is available for businesses.[26]

The bad

  • Telephone numbers and email addresses are not provided for all administrative officials.
  • Information is not provided on the City's lobbying activities.

See also

Suggest a link

External links

Suggest a link


  1. United States Census Bureau, "American Fact Finder," accessed April 24, 2014
  2. City of New York City Charter, Sec. 1.3-19, accessed on September 15, 2014
  3. City of New York, "Office of the Mayor," accessed April 24, 2014
  4. City of New York, "City Council," accessed on September 15, 2014
  5. New York City Council, "Members," accessed on October 29, 2014
  6. City of New York, "New York City Council Committees, 2013-14," accessed on August 29, 2014
  7. New York City Council, "Budget Process," accessed April 25, 2014
  8. New York City, "June 2014 Adopted Budget, Fiscal Year 2015," accessed July 2, 2014
  9. The Yeshiva World News, "New York City Council Unveils Budget Proposal," April 23, 2014
  10. Open Secrets, "City of New York, NY," accessed on November 11, 2014
  11. U.S. House of Representatives: Office of the Clerk, "Lobbying Disclosure Act Guidance," accessed on November 11, 2014
  12. Open Secrets, "Methodology," accessed on November 11, 2014
  13. NY Post, "NYC pension funds big Liu-sors," December 30, 2012
  14. 14.0 14.1 MacIver Institute, "City of Milwaukee Pension a Ticking Time Bomb According to Northwestern Study," October 12, 2010
  15. New York Daily News, "Fraud suspected as dead city retirees continue to collect pension checks," September 27, 2010
  16. City of New York, "Budget," accessed August 6, 2014
  17. City of New York, "Calendar," accessed August 6, 2014
  18. City of New York, "Contact the Mayor," accessed August 6, 2014
  19. City of New York, "City Council," accessed August 6, 2014
  20. City of New York, "Key Members of the Bloomberg Administration," accessed August 6, 2014
  21. City of New York, "Department of City Planning," accessed August 6, 2014
  22. City of New York, "Bureau of Audit," accessed August 6, 2014
  23. City of New York, "The City Record Online," accessed August 6, 2014
  24. City of New York, "Clearview," accessed August 6, 2014 (dead link)
  25. City of New York, "Freedom of Information Law (FOIL))," accessed August 6, 2014
  26. City of New York, "Taxes and Payments," accessed August 6, 2014