2015-07-01 / Front Page

Constantinides Helps Pass Fiscal Year ‘16 City Budget

The City Council voted to adopt a balanced and fiscally responsible Budget for Fiscal Year 2016 (July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016). The budget includes the hiring of additional police officers, six-day library service, new and enhanced City Council initiatives, services for seniors and children, and capital funding for parks and schools.

“I am proud of this year’s balanced city budget that includes many City Council priorities. This fiscally responsible budget will ensure that our streets are safer and cleaner, that our libraries are open six days per week, and is inclusive of children and seniors. The budget will also bring educational, environmental, and recreational improvements to our district.  I thank Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and Finance Committee Chair Julissa Ferreras for their leadership. I look forward to implementing these priorities that will benefit our communities and make our city more inclusive, sustainable, and engaged,” Constantinides said. Here is a brief highlight of several of the new budget items:
A new Eco-Dock in Astoria:  
Constantinides and Borough President Melinda Katz allocated $1 million each during this fiscal year for an eco-dock at Hallets Peninsula. Katz also committed continued support during FY 2017.  For a community that has been cut off from the waterfront for decades, this dock would bring waterfront access and education directly to residents of the Astoria waterfront.  The eco-dock would provide the opportunity for environmental and marine programming for students, as well as a kayak launch for the community.  
Keeping Streets Safe:
The city will hire 1,300 additional police officers, and move more than 400 officers from desk duty.  The additional officers will make our neighborhoods safer through community policing.  
Improvement to Parks:
As part of participatory budgeting, Constantinides allocated $500,000 to build a dog run at Triborough Lot C under the RFK Bridge. That project will receive an additional $500,000 in funding from Katz and state Senator Michael Gianaris. This additional funding will add to the potential scope of the dog run construction. Constantinides designated funding in Jackson Heights of $400,000 for improvements to One Room Schoolhouse Playground.  
Play areas along the Astoria waterfront will also be upgraded. Constantinides secured $1.21 million for improvements at Hallets Cove Playground – $1 million from the Borough President and $210,000 from his discretionary budget. He also allocated $350,000 to NYCHA Astoria Houses for upgrades to its basketball court.
Improving Libraries:  
The city will increase funding of all three library systems by $39 million, allowing for all library branches to be open six days per week. Six-day service will make our libraries’ resources available to more New Yorkers. Constantinides allocated $180,000 of his discretionary budget to make the Queens Library Astoria branch ADA accessible, making that branch inclusive of people with disabilities. He also allocated funding to ProjectArt, Little Orchestra Society, and Queens Page to Stage for arts and music programming at the Queens Library branches within the districts.

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