Nearly $14 Million Coming to Northeast Queens’ Schools, Parks, Libraries and Non-profits
On Tuesday, the New York City Council passed a budget of $82.1 billion for fiscal year 2017. Council Member Vallone has again secured a record amount of funding, nearly $6 million, for the residents of Northeast Queens for much needed capital and expense projects throughout the community. By working with City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Assemblyman Edward Braunstein, the Queens Delegation and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, an additional $7.68 million was allocated to Council Member Vallone’s district, bringing the total funding amount to nearly $14 million. Throughout the first three years of Council Member Vallone’s tenure, his district has received $40 million in funding, nearly as much as it had in the previous nine City budgets combined.
A very proud Council Member Vallone stated, “As promised, I’ve worked hand in hand with my fellow elected officials and have been able to ensure that my constituents finally receive their fair share of funding. This year’s budget is another clear victory for our communities and will go a long way to continue making our schools, parks, libraries and non-profits the best they can be. The last three years has clearly put Northeast Queens back on the map, where it always should have been.”
Council Member Vallone, with additional funding from Assemblyman Edward Braunstein, the Queens Borough President and the Speaker, has secured over $2.8 million for his district’s schools as well as $5.55 million to parks and $1.4 million for local libraries. These victories, along with acquiring over 80 new officers for the 109th precinct, will immediately impact and change the community for the better. “With this year’s allocations, I am affirming my commitment to public safety and our children by ensuring that we provide them with the safest and best communities and opportunities in the City,” said Council Member Vallone. “Every week, I’m in our schools to champion the children, parents, teachers and principals of the two best school districts in the City. Once again every school within my district will receive at least $50,000, with many schools receiving additional capital funding for critical upgrades. We are also looking forward to significant parks upgrades with a major victory of $3.5 million going into the long awaited upgrades of the College Point Sports Fields, $600,000 into Frank Golden Park and $1,000,000 into the Bay Terrace Playground. This funding will ensure that these parks can be enjoyed by everyone for years to come.”
The overwhelming success of this year’s Participatory Budgeting process led to Council Member Vallone’s district receiving the most votes of any district in Queens and led his office to double the capital commitment to fully fund the top five projects chosen. Over $2 million will go to fund these projects including $450,000 to complete the music studio at Bayside High School, $550,000 for J.H.S. 194’s auditorium and library upgrade, $200,000 for gymnasium upgrades at P.S. 79, $500,000 for auditorium upgrades at P.S. 193 and $550,000 for a pedestrian safety sidewalk, guardrails and adult fitness equipment at Harvey Park. Council Member Vallone also received support from the Speaker and the Queens Delegation who provided over $200,000 for non-profits exclusively in his district such as the Bayside Historical Society, the Alley Pond Environmental Center, the Douglaston LDC and the Samuel Field Y.
As Chair of the Subcommittee on Senior Centers, Council Member Vallone fought tirelessly against the lack of funding included by the Administration for the Department for the Aging (DFTA) and our city’s senior population, resulting in the Administration providing an additional $6.9 million in baselined funding. His advocacy also led to the expansion of two critical initiatives. The Healthy Aging initiative was increased by over $500,000 and Council Member Vallone’s Support Our Seniors Initiative was also increased by over $500,000. Now, each Council Member will have nearly $80,000 more to directly fund organizations that provide quality senior services within their districts. In Northeast Queens, this funding will play a big role in providing transportation alternatives for seniors. “I will always continue to be an advocate for our city’s seniors and I am proud to have fought for these additional funds to improve and increase the services available to our seniors,” said Council Member Vallone.
Council Member Vallone also fought for two critical initiatives in the upcoming year’s budget. First, he was able to secure $10 million in capital funding from Mayor de Blasio for two new animal shelters in Queens and the Bronx. This funding will go towards enabling the land acquisition and design necessary for the two new state-of-the-art full service shelters. “This $10 million investment is a great first step towards finally giving Queens and the Bronx the full service animal shelters that they have always needed,” said Council Member Paul Vallone. “I’m proud to have been at the forefront of this issue throughout my time in the Council. Going forward, I will continue working with the Mayor, my fellow Council Members and all of the advocates to ensure the completion of both new shelters.” His advocacy also resulted in the expansion of the City Council CUNY Merit Based Scholarship, formerly known as the Peter F. Vallone Academic Scholarship, to a full $17.375 million. This will provide all freshman, sophomore and junior students attending a CUNY school, who graduated from a NYC high school and maintain at least a GPA of 3.0, with a $400 per semester scholarship.
“With this year’s budget victories and allocation of nearly $14 million to our district, our communities can continue to stand tall knowing that their priorities are finally being met by the City,” said Council Member Vallone. “In two weeks, the fireworks at the Independence Day Celebration at Fort Totten will be a clear signal to the rest of the City of how far our district has come and of its equally bright future.”