The city’s preliminary budget totals $82.1 billion. It increases funding for community boards and agencies, including the Department of Education and the Department of Parks and Recreation. The budget also decreases funding for libraries, cultural affairs and youth and senior programs.
Richard Lee, budget director for Borough President Melinda Katz, outlined where the money will be spent in the preliminary budget. He noted that Queens often got a smaller share of the pie in funding.
“We are, with our dollars, serving more people than other boroughs,” Lee said.
All of the recommendations he made on behalf of the borough president were to increase funding for programs or to restore funding that had been cut from last year’s budget to meet the growing needs of Queens residents.
The Borough Board, which consists of all Queens City Council members and the chairs of the 14 community boards, passed the budget priorities without a hitch. The priorities were formed after listening to testimonies from local organizations that asked for funding.
The Borough Board also unanimously approved the TWA terminal flight center hotel at the meeting. Seven council members and the chairs for community boards 10, 12 and 13 all voted in favor of a resolution which would give MCR Development the authority to lease the site after 2050.
The project will preserve the iconic terminal at John F. Kennedy Airport and construct a 500-room hotel, according to Wesley O’Brien, legal counsel for the developers. The proposal will also build 48,000 square feet of conference and meeting space, six to eight food or beverage outlets, and a public observation deck.
The project is expected to be completed and opened by 2020.
“It’s going to be the largest convention meeting space in Queens County,” said Hardy Adasko, senior vice president of the Economic Development Corporation.
The center will be built by union labor and is expected to create more than 3,700 jobs, about 500 of which will be permanent, O’Brien said.
“There will be outreach for all levels of employment,” he added.