A Bronx eatery near Yankee Stadium is complaining over new fees and fines from the city, including a $600 charge for having rainwater in the parking lot that flowed away from the building and into city sewers.
A manager at Yolanda's, a family-run Italian restaurant on 140th Street, told the New York Post the restaurant is seeing a rise in dubious fines that eat up an estimated 15 to 20 percent of its revenue.
In addition to the rain runoff fine from the Department of Environmental Protection, for example, Yolanda's was also recently charged $200 by the city because of a missing ceiling light cover.
Anthony Fasolino, the Yolanda's manager, told the Post the restaurant also gets visits every two months from the city's Health Department, despite its "A" grade in cleanliness. "[I]t is costing us hundreds and as much as $2,000 each visit," he told the Post. "They have to find something wrong with the place. If they don't, their supervisor will come out and give you a ticket of some kind."
The New York Post reports the Bloomberg administration budget office is projected to raise almost $900 million in fees and fines in order to make up for flat taxes in its last budget. Most of that money is coming from small businesses, the Post says.
Fasolino said he believes the rainwater fee is "just another way for the city to make money" and is contesting the charge with DEP. The department did not immediately respond to the Post's request for comment, but the newspaper noted the DEP did "quietly warn of its unusual stormwater program, enacted for fiscal year 2011 on a pilot basis for certain stand-alone parking lots."
For its part, the city's Small Business Services agency has on its website a bill of rights for small business owners and information on saving money through incentives. A complete list of fees and fines that small businesses face could not be immediately located on the site.