The New York City Council passed a budget on Tuesday, June 6, of $85.2 billion for fiscal year 2017. For a fourth straight year, Councilman Paul Vallone has secured a record-setting 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 Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the Queens Delegation, an additional $16.6 million was allocated to Councilman Vallone’s district, bringing the total funding amount to nearly $23 million. During Vallone’s first term, his district has received nearly $65 million in funding, a number that completely eclipses the previous 12 city budgets combined.
A very proud Councilman Vallone stated, “Throughout my first four years, I’ve worked hand in hand with my fellow elected officials and have put Northeast Queens not just back on the map, but on top of it. This year’s budget marks another clear victory for our communities as we continue to invest fully in the future of our children, schools, parks, libraries and non-profits that call Northeast Queens their home.”
Vallone, with additional funding from the Queens Borough President and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, has secured over $4.8 million for his district’s schools and $11.8 million for parks.
“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,” stated Vallone. “We are also looking forward to significant parks upgrades with a major victory of $8 million going into the renovation of the Alley Pond Environmental Center (APEC), and $2.5 million into the Bay Terrace Playground. APEC has now been fully funded for its renovation project that will create a brand new state of the art building for APEC to continue providing worldclass environmental education to children and adults, protecting and preserving Alley Pond Park and researching and advocating for sustainable environmental policies and practices. The long-awaited dream of APEC’s new facility has finally become a reality.”
Combined with the funding from the Speaker and the Queens Delegation, Vallone will provide over $1 million to support non-profits exclusively in his district, such as the Bayside Historical Society, the Alley Pond Environmental Center, the Douglaston LD, Poppenhusen Institute, and the HANAC Angelo Petromelis Senior Center.
This year’s Participatory Budgeting process was another incredible success, with Vallone’s district once again receiving the most votes of any district in Queens. $1.4 million was allocated to fully fund the top four winning projects, which include NYPD security cameras, a technology upgrade for the Whitestone Library and 3,200 new lockers for Bayside High School. In addition to the $500,000 allocated to the top project, a full electrical upgrade for P.S. 41, Vallone secured $1.05 million from the School Construction Authority to fully fund the $2 million project. He also obtained another $1.1 million to fund a complete renovation of P.S. 41’s playground. With over $3 million going to P.S. 41, Vallone set a new record for a single year funding allocation which will greatly benefit the students and parents of Bayside.
As Chair of the Subcommittee on Senior Centers, 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 a permanent baseline funding increase of $22.89 million for core senior services. This is the largest increase in funding that DFTA has seen in years and will provide an enormous boost to the services they are able to provide. His advocacy also led to a 50% funding increase for the Council’s “Support Our Seniors” initiative which Vallone created. Now, each Council member will receive an additional $60,000 to directly fund organizations that provide quality senior services within their districts. This past year in Northeast Queens, the funding was used to launch a senior transportation pilot program which has helped hundreds of seniors attend important personal and medical appointments, go on shopping trips and visit cultural institutions throughout the city. “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 aging population. This huge increase in funding will make sure that 2017 is remembered as the ‘Year of the Senior,’” said Vallone.
“With this year’s budget victories and allocation of nearly $23 million to our district, our communities can continue to stand tall knowing that their priorities are finally being met by the city,” said Vallone. “In three 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.”