CALL TO ORDER
Roll Call

Others In Attendance: BOL: MaryJane Shimsky, Gordon Burrows, Kitley Covill, John Testa, David Tubiolo, Nancy Barr CONSUMER PROTECTION: Jim Maisano, John Gaccione LAW: Stacey Dolgin-Kmetz CE: Copper Crane, Steve Bass GUESTS: Marylou Green, Jason Parker, Ann Heekin, Swatanter Polce, Cassidy Fitzgerald, M. Momeni

MINUTES APPROVAL
1. Minutes of Oct 1, 2018 1:01 PM No action
2. Minutes of Sep 24, 2018 10:01 AM No action
I. ITEMS FOR DISCUSSION

Meeting jointly with the Committees on Legislation and Budget & Appropriations.

Law: County Attorney John Nonna

Consumer Protection:  James Maisano, Director

Guests: Ann Heekin, Executive Director and Gonzalo Carreon - Don Bosco Community Center

1. LL-2018-10 : Home Improvement Licensing Law Amendments Pending

A LOCAL LAW amending Article XVI of Chapter 863 of the Laws of Westchester County in relation to the licensing of persons engaged in the home improvement business.

The Committees will be discussing Items #11243 Local Law and #11244 Public Hearing - Home Improvement Licensing Law Amendments. 

James Maisano, Director, Consumer Protection and Deputy Director Gaccione joined the Committee to discussed the proposed home Improvement Licensing Law.  Mr. Maisano began by stating there are three pieces to this law and he will present them one at a time.

The first piece was a meeting with Legislator Barr who discussed changing the law to protect workers from wage theft. Mr. Maisano told Leg. Barr that if they had evidence of wage theft they would never grant a license to the contractor, as provided for under State law. However, Leg. Barr wanted to codify what we do regarding wage theft, so throughout our law we made changes as per the suggestions of Legislator Barr and the advocates.  There is similar language in several places throughout the new law.

Mr. Maisano also made the point that they do not hear about cases resolved in small claims court and they are working on ways to get that information to them.  Leg. Borgia suggested using e-news.

In answer to a question by Legislator Testa, Mr. Maisano noted that the are constantly dealing with judgments and satisfactions of judgments.

Mr. Maisano noted that the second piece was increasing license fees. The Department of Consumer Affairs has advocated raising the home improvement licensing fee because it's very low.  By their estimate they are losing about $400,000 a year in lost fees.  The current license fee is $300 for two years and they are recommending an increase of $100, so the new fee would be $400 for two years.  He then gave background on previous fee raises and noted that they are doing more on background checks than they have ever done and it costs more to do that.  He also stated that Westchester charges the lowest fees of the surrounding counties, so we are short changing our taxpayers. 

In response to Legislator Tubiolo's question, Mr. Maisano stated that they have been working very closely with the NYS Turf and Landscape Association.

Ms. Williams brought up the question of raising the fee more so that we are more in line with what the other Counties are charging.  Several suggestions were offered.  There was further discussion concerning whether to put in an option to increase fees or to leave the legislation as is and revisit an increased fee in the future.  Mr. Maisano noted that the higher the fee, the more push back from the industry.

Legislator A. Williams recommended that we increase the fee to $400 for this coming year 2019, with inclusion in the legislation that subsequent to that the fee will go up by $100 for two years.  A discussion on the recommendation followed. 

Legislator A. Williams made a motion to amend the legislation to keep the raise for 2019 as it is and in 2021 the fee will be raised to $500.  Legislator Johnson  seconded and the amendment was approved with a vote of 6-0.

 

a. LL - Home Improvement Licensing Law Amendments - DRAFT
2. RES-2018-173 : PH- Home Improvement Licensing Law Amendments

A "Local Law amending Article XVI of Chapter 863 of the Laws of Westchester County in relation to the licensing of persons engaged in the home improvement business." [Public Hearing set for November 19, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. Local Law Intro 2018-11243.]

Please refer to item # 1.

a. PH - Home Improvement Licensing Law Amendments - DRAFT
II. OTHER BUSINESS

Unfinished Business and any other agenda items to come before the Committee.

 

III. RECEIVE & FILE
ADJOURNMENT

Moved by Legislator A, Williams seconded by Legislator Johnson the Committee adjourned at {MinutesClosed:h:mm tt}.