There’s a significant amount of prioritizing that will happen within each community and by each council member in the city, but the February 25th hearing is the first opportunity to present the borough president’s office with an itemized list of everything each community needs.
Among the most common items requested were infrastructure improvements, library expansions, transportation improvements and additional schools.
According to Borough President Melinda Katz, the city administration introduced a $77 billion spending plan for 2015, with nearly $52 billion expected in tax revenue, an estimated $669 million more than anticipated.
“We are making great strides in the city of New York, in this borough of Queens,” Katz said.
With money in the budget of 2015 allocated, it’s time for the local communities to turn the calendar, despite it only being the second month of the new year. Most of the requests came in the form of general capital improvements unique to the various communities of Queens.
Community Board 2 requested that the city purchase property at 44-02 Vernon Boulevard in Long Island City, one of the only property acquisitions discussed during the hearing. The dormant property could be turned into affordable housing, something that’s been made a priority by the DiBlasio administration.
“Considering the size of this abandoned construction site, if left in it’s current condition, it is a serious threat to the safety and quality of life to all those who live and work in close proximity,” a statement submitted by the board read.
Community Board 5 requested 20 additional police officers for the 104th precinct.
“In 20 years, we’ve lost 25 percent of our police force,” District Manager Gary Giordano said. “We went from about 200 to 150, approximately.”
Most of the other requests were for roadway improvements, new or expanded libraries, additional schools, improvements to parks and open space and work on the sewer lines and water basins.
There are still issues that exist in some communities, especially along the Atlantic Ocean and Jamaica Bay, thanks to the destructive power of Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy.
While it may seem early to discuss projects that wouldn’t be included in budgets until 2016, there’s still the reality that every community has needs and not all projects will come to fruition.
A piece of positive news came out of Community Board 9, however, as Katz reported that the parking garage at Queens Borough Hall would be razed within the next year and there’s a plan to build a 350-space parking lot on the property.