BRIGHTON BEACH — As part of his “Small Business Listening Tour,” Public Advocate Bill de Blasio partnered with the Brighton Beach Business Improvement District (BID) to hold a roundtable discussion last week on issues affecting small businesses in Brighton Beach and southern Brooklyn.
De Blasio met with 20 local business owners to discuss ways to lessen the strain of city regulations and red tape, according to a published statement. Attendees included owners from local businesses like Seaside Car Service, Brighton Grocery and Art of Flowers, several voicing their concerns about over-ticketing by the city for minor violations and the city’s inadequate efforts to inform business owners about regulations they are required to follow.
“Small businesses are the engine behind job growth in New York City,” said de Blasio. “But in talking with business owners across the five boroughs, it’s clear that city government is not doing everything it can to encourage their success and, in many ways, is making it harder for them to keep their doors open. We need to act quickly and cut through the red tape holding these entrepreneurs back.”
Said Yelena Makhnin, executive director of the BID, “Too often, these business owners, especially immigrants, are ignored by city officials who only interact with them when collecting fines. The Public Advocate’s commitment to gathering input from everyone is promising, and we hope to continue working with his office in addressing the many issues discussed today.”
De Blasio says he has been pushing to reform business regulations by:
• Upgrading the hearing process at all city agencies overseeing small businesses to allow owners to contest violations online, by phone or by mail;
• Developing a tiered classification system for small business violations at agencies that do not yet distinguish between severe and low-risk violations in their enforcement and fine schedules;
• Offering business owners an opportunity to correct first-time, low-risk violations before incurring an immediate penalty.
Feedback gathered at the roundtables will be used in a new report to be issued later this year by de Blasio’s office identifying ways the city can better support small business and eliminate the red tape that holds entrepreneurs back.
For more information, call de Blasio’s Small Business Hotline at (212) 669-4691.