2017-06-14 / Political Page

Constantinides Helps Pass FY ’18 City Budget


Seen here are City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (r.) and Councilman Costa Constantinides (foreground), who helped pass the budget and stated, “This budget will make our neighborhood more sustainable, improve healthcare, give students the resources they need in our public schools and libraries, and bring much-needed funding to Hallets Peninsula.” Seen here are City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (r.) and Councilman Costa Constantinides (foreground), who helped pass the budget and stated, “This budget will make our neighborhood more sustainable, improve healthcare, give students the resources they need in our public schools and libraries, and bring much-needed funding to Hallets Peninsula.” The New York City Council voted on June 6 to pass a balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2018, which stretches from July 1 of this year to June 30, 2018. The budget includes funding for public spaces, including schools, hospitals, and parks. It also includes funding to keep the district sustainable, clean, and safe.

Councilman Costa Constantinides said, “I am honored to help pass this comprehensive and balanced budget. We are proud to invest in our children, our public spaces, and our community’s health. This budget will make our neighborhood more sustainable, improve healthcare, give students the resources they need in our public schools and libraries, and bring much-needed funding to Hallets Peninsula. These investments will bring long-lasting improvements to our community. Thank you to Speaker Mark- Viverito, my Council colleagues, and Borough President Katz for their support in Astoria and across our city. I look forward to working with community stakeholders as these projects continue to implementation.”

The budget includes:

• Making Astoria Greener and More Sustainable.

In order to help us meet our goal of reducing emissions 80% by 2050 citywide, Constantinides allocated funding to encourage the use of renewable energy at public spaces in our district. He and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz together allocated a total of $1.1 million for solar panels at PS 122. He designated a total of $300,000 with Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas for installing solar panels at the Queens Library, Steinway branch as part of Participatory Budgeting. The Steinway branch and PS 122 will be the first library and public school in Astoria with solar panels. These investments will decrease emissions and teach children about the importance of combating climate change.

This year, the Council expanded its Greener NYC initiative to $3 million citywide. The initiative invests in environmental education, community service, and green-job training. These programs contribute to the improvement and conservation of our city’s air, land, energy, open space and other vital resources.

• Improving Healthcare Outcomes for Western Queens.

Constantinides secured funding from the Queens Delegation for a new acute stroke center at Mount Sinai Queens. The $1.8 million investment will be used for stroke patients so that western Queens residents will no longer have to wait for an ambulance to take them to a hospital in Manhattan to receive time-sensitive care, which will help improve health outcomes.

• Preparing Children for the Future.

Constantinides allocated over $1 million to public schools. As part of his ongoing investments to improve science learning spaces in our public schools, he designated $160,000 each at PS 84 and IS 126 for new hydroponic science labs. Plants and equipment will be installed in classrooms that use water and other mediums for plant growth. These labs provide hands-on education to students in many subjects including biology, agriculture, technology and nutrition.

He also invested almost $900,000 in technology upgrades at all public schools once again this year. Schools can upgrade their computers, laptops, SMART Boards, or other pieces of technology.

• Improving Hallets Peninsula.

Constantinides worked with City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to secure $3 million for improvements at Hallets Cove Playground to upgrade the empty asphalt blacktop into a multi-purpose ballfield. Whitey Ford Field will also be upgraded with $2 million in funding from Constantinides and Borough President Katz. The update will include re-grading the baseball field, re-sodding grass, and other updates to prevent flooding conditions.

He designated $1 million toward upgrading lighting at the NYCHA Astoria Houses parking lot and installing new closed-circuit TV cameras inside the stairwells. He also allocated additional funding for the Astoria Houses Basketball Court, an investment now totaling $600,000.

• Transforming Libraries.

Constantinides secured $3 million in funding from Speaker Mark-Viverito for the Queens Library, Astoria branch. This is the largest allocation that this branch has received in decades and will go towards making the entire building ADA accessible, improvements to the children’s room, and other upgrades. He also allocated $675,000 as part of Participatory Budgeting towards an accessible entrance at the Astoria branch, solar panels on the roof of the Steinway branch, and computer technology upgrades at both branches.

• Keeping Astoria Clean.

For the third year in a row, the Council expanded its successful NYC Cleanup initiative by $2.4 million citywide. Constantinides will again allocate over $250,000 for sidewalk cleaning and graffiti removal services using funding from this initiative and from his discretionary budget. Workers will continue to sweep sidewalks on major thoroughfares and remove graffiti throughout the district.

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