, on Nostrand Avenue, has weathered the recession – – but the shop could close today if owner Margo Lewis can’t pay $3,300 in Department of Health fines.
A New York Post op-ed by Public Advocate Bill de Blasio says that the city’s fines against small businesses are out of control, such as the citations against Ms. Dahlia’s Café for having scratches in a cutting board and leaving a damp cloth out.
Lewis fixed the problems in her café right away, according to de Blasio, and even earned an “A” grade from the Department of Health, but if she can’t pay the fines, she will have to close her doors.
“This isn’t about health and safety — if it was, Margo’s fines would have been forgiven after she fixed the problems,” de Blasio says. “This is about revenue. The city is hauling in twice as much from fines as it did 10 years ago; it’s now close to $820 million each year.”
Last week, , claiming that city agencies were not complying with his request for data on the fines they’ve issued since 2002, and arguing that a “fine-first, ask questions later” enforcement is unfair to small businesses.
“If it takes a judge to compel the mayor and his commissioners to admit that budget quotas and a drive for revenue are responsible for all these fines, so be it,” de Blasio says in the Post.