2018-03-14 / Front Page

Vallone Chairs Preliminary Budget Hearing


Council Member Paul Vallone Chairs the Committee on Economic Development’s Preliminary Budget Hearing, which called for increased transparency and community involvement for NYCEDC Projects. 
Photo John McCarten NYC Council Council Member Paul Vallone Chairs the Committee on Economic Development’s Preliminary Budget Hearing, which called for increased transparency and community involvement for NYCEDC Projects. Photo John McCarten NYC Council New York City Council Member Paul A. Vallone led the first hearing for the City Council’s Economic Development Committee on the Mayor’s proposed Fiscal Year 2019 Preliminary Budget for the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC).

Council Member Vallone reiterated the need for increased ferry stops in Queens for the Citywide Ferry Service; asked for an update on the Mayor’s goal to create 100,000 jobs over 10 years; and advocated for increased transparency as to how EDC selects and executes the hundreds of projects they administer by expanding the decision making process. Vallone stated the council “is bringing a renewed focus to the city’s capital program. It is essential that the budget that we adopt this year is transparent, accountable, and reflective of the priorities and interests of the council and the people we represent.” Vallone also highlighted the importance of community involvement at the Willets Point development by asking EDC to expedite the implementation of the Willets Point Task Force and ensuring community concerns are addressed.

The hearing was an opportunity for the NYCEDC’s President and CEO James Patchett to address the council’s concerns regarding the Mayor’s preliminary budget, as well as provide the council with an overview of ongoing projects within the capital budget. Patchett recapped some of the roughly $4 billion dollars in ongoing projects, which included launching NYCFerry service, helping create 100,000 new jobs in New York City, and ongoing investments at the Brooklyn Army Terminal. Afterwards he highlighted EDC projects such as free graffiti removal, student summer internships, growing the cyber security industry and further diversifying EDC’s employee workforce. Patchett stated “Whether launching new ferry routes, investing in 21st century industries, or connecting New Yorkers to job opportunities, EDC is fully committed to building a fairer city today and a stronger city tomorrow.” Of the 468 projects in NYCEDC’s Capital Commitment Plan, 143 are in Brooklyn, 120 are in Manhattan, 61 are in Queens, 43 are in the Bronx and 27 are in Staten Island. 18 of these projects are citywide and represent the largest portion of the agency’s budget, totaling $1.4 billion.

In addition to testimony from Patchett, the committee heard from several advocates. Alex Camarda, Senior Policy Advisor for Reinvent Albany, stated that EDC needs to “make its spending more transparent by sharing its data with Checkbook NYC…which makes public all spending by city agencies and entities. The public cannot easily figure out how EDC spends taxpayer dollars.” Checkbook NYC is run by City Comptroller Scott Stringer.

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