NYC to charge for film permits

MOFTB blames budget woes for new $300 fee

NEW YORK -- New York City is proposing its first-ever fee for film and TV production permits amid continuing budget woes.

The Mayor's Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting (MOFTB) said Tuesday it is seeking a $300 new project application fee -- a financial requirement that most other major cities have long charged productions.

While it would be a first for the Big Apple since the office was established in 1966, it would largely have a symbolic effect and ensure funds for application processing.

It is too soon to tell how much could be raised since the new rule could affect the amount of applications, a MOFTB spokeswoman said. But the fees are expected to at least cover the $155,000 budget cuts the office faces. The agency's annual budget is only worth around $2 million.

Like all NYC agencies, the MOFTB has undergone budget cuts in the last two-and-a-half years -- in this case, seven cuts.

The proposed fee would be for a new project account application associated with any production activity needing a required permit.

TV series would apply for a new application at the beginning of each season.

City officials emphasized it is a processing fee, not a location fee, and it won't charge additional fees for subsequent requests for locations.

MOFTB said it would waive the fee when the applicant is able to demonstrate "unreasonable hardship."

Many cities that host productions already charge a permit fee:

For example, Los Angeles charges a fee of $625 every two weeks, while San Francisco assesses $300 per day for TV and film work and $200 for commercials. Chicago, Boston, Miami and Canadian cities, such as Vancouver, also charge varying fees.

As NYC's biggest competitor, Los Angeles also charges fees for services that NYC provides for free, such as a notification fee of $155 per location, parking fees, street/lane closure fees of $312 per location, a county road use fee of $51 plus $299 per day and a police fee of a minimum of $400 (NYC provides two officers for free).

The MOFTB will take comments and suggestions into consideration, with the public comment period starting in the coming days.