2018-02-14 / Features

Local Organizations Make Budget Requests Via Boro Board

BY RICHARD GENTILVISO


Photo Office of the Queens Borough President Photo Office of the Queens Borough President On the heels of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $88.67 billion Preliminary Budget submitted on February 1, the Queens Borough Board held its public budget hearing at Borough Hall on February 5.

The Queens Borough Board hearing, chaired by Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and comprised of Queens City Council members and chairs of the community boards, gives community-based organizations and public institutions an opportunity to present their budget requests and provide comments on the FY 2019 Preliminary Budget to the Board.

Under the City Charter, the borough president is empowered to make recommendations to the Mayor’s Budget, as well as provide discretionary funding to non-profits, cultural institutions and schools that file a FY 2019 Discretionary Capital Funding Application.

The borough president can also provide expense funding to support programs provided by community-based organizations, including senior and youth programs, social services and community events.

Borough President Katz, in her annual State of the Borough Address delivered on January 26, said that funding allocations during her first term in office totaled $300 million for capital priorities throughout the borough, with two-thirds going to education and parks.

The borough board’s recommendations on February 25, 2017 to the FY 2018 Preliminary Budget noted Queens is home to more than 2.3 million residents, adding, “The borough’s diverse population continues to steadily grow.”

The board further noted that of the 62,506 total units of affordable housing created under Mayor de Blasio, 4,801 units, or just 7.68 percent, were in Queens, leading the board to conclude, “The creation and preservation of affordable housing has become an absolute necessity in Queens.”

On February 6, the Mayor, Katz and Council Member Francisco Moya announced an agreement to “jumpstart” construction of 1,100 apartments on six acres of Willets Point— an increase of 225 homes over the original development proposal.

The new plan is for three 100 percent affordable buildings, including a stand-alone building with 220 units for low-income seniors and also apartments for individuals earning less $17,190, or $25,770 for a family of three. The plan also includes public open space and a new 450-seat public elementary school.

“This agreement to build 100 percent affordable housing at Willets Point is the right plan at the right time. I am encouraged that we are moving forward in putting a shovel in the ground, and that housing and a school are the first priorities,” said Katz in a February 6 press release.

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