HPD responds to Jamie Towers $$ complaints

Mark Colon, deputy commissioner of the Housing Preservation Department, responded to residents complaints about an increase in carrying charges at Jamie Towers, a Mitchelle Lama property.
Photo Courtesy of Robert Christie

The state has responded to numerous monthly increase complaints at a Soundview complex.

In early November, Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. sent an open letter to Governor Cuomo requesting the reasons behind an increase in carrying charges and other fees at Jamie Towers.

Diaz and Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda met with Jamie Towers residents in early November to discuss their concerns about the charges.

Mark Colon, deputy commissioner of the NYS Office of Housing Preservation, recently responded to Diaz’ letter and the Jamie Towers shareholders, addressing the recent increases.

Colon stated the development’s recent carrying charge increase would be lowered $12.71 per room starting in January 2017 due to objections.

He said 2016 was the first time since 2011 carrying charges were increased at Jamie Towers.

He acknowledged the hardship this change would be on co-opers on fixed incomes or with disabilities.

Colon said residents who qualify can use the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption and the Disability Rent Increase Exemption.

He said HPD has instructed the Jamie Towers management company, First Services Inc., to continue providing SCRIE and DRIE applications to residents.

Colon also said the increase in carrying charges allows the Jamie Towers to “realize several crucial outcomes that will save money in the long term, while providing some much-needed services, fairly soon, for Jamie Towers’ shareholders.”

For example, said Colon, it allows Jamie Towers to have a full complement of security staffing while insuring the guards receive the state’s new minimum wage.

In addition, Colon said it allows Jamie Towers to pay down loans and finance capital improvements that are needed.

Residents also complained about an increase in parking fees from $50 per month to $75 per month and an increase in air conditioner fees from $25 to $35 per monthColon said the air conditioner fees are due to an increase in the electrical costs associated with their use.

The parking fee increases, Colon said, went to repaving the three Jamie Towers parking lots which cost nearly $400,000.

Jamie Towers is a four building, 624-unit, 12-acre Mitchell-Lama cooperative

According to Barbara Jones, a 21-year resident of Jamie Towers, the co-op’s security staff has been reduced .

In addition, she said there are issues with inconsistent heat.

“If it is 60 degrees outside they’re giving us heat,” Jones told the Bronx Times in early December. “When it’s six degrees outside you don’t get any heat and that’s really a problem, it’s really a problem.”

Jones, who serves as chair for Jamie Towers’ Gems and Gents Senior Group, said there is in- sufficient outside lighting, leaving the property in darkness at times.

According to Jones, 60 percent of the residents in Jamie Towers are senior citizens and some are 80 and 90 years old.

The Bronx Times reached out to First Services Residential multiple times to ask about the conditions Jones’ described but received no response.

Reach Reporter Robert Christie at (718) 260-4591. E-mail him at rchristie@cnglocal.com.

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