Column: Highlights from Council District 18’s budget for FY 2023

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Every year our city goes through a budget process that reflects anticipated income for the next fiscal year and allocates public resources locally and citywide. Every NYC councilmember receives $5 million in capital and $735,000 in discretionary. Any additional amount received is through advocacy, negotiations and collaboration with the speaker of the City Council. With this in mind, we have huge wins in this year’s budget! I was able to secure and deliver $14.375 million in capital and $1.425 million in discretionary funding for Council District 18.

Capital funding is allocated to projects that involve construction or installation of a physical public improvement, like auditorium seats or a new housing development. While discretionary funds go to nonprofit’s for local needs outside of what city agencies provide, such as after-school programs. As your councilmember, good, transparent governance is important, which is why I am thrilled to highlight some of the biggest investments I made this fiscal year.

For capital, I allocated $7 million for housing opportunities for seniors to age in place and families to have opportunities for homeownership and to build generational wealth, including:

  • $2 million for a housing elevator modernization at Jaime Towers.
  • $2 million for newly built 100% affordable senior housing and new homeownership housing at Stevenson Commons.
  • $1.5 million for elevator and facade upgrades at Tower Gardens.
  • $1.5 millon to break ground and build 100% affordable senior housing on Randall Avenue.

I allocated $4.446 million to create fun educational environments in public schools and libraries, including:

  • $1.35 million for improved science labs in Archimedes Academy, Soundview Academy and P17X.
  • $1.8 million for infrastructure upgrades at Soundview Academy, Blueprint Middle and PS 583.
  • $1.046 million for technology upgrades and robotics programs at several public schools.
  • $250,000 for local libraries.In addition, I secured $2.4 million for our local firehouse, Engine 96/Ladder 54, for kitchen renovations and a generator; and $529,000 to the trees and sidewalk program to alleviate the cost for homeowners to replace damaged sidewalks.

For discretionary, I invested $414,000 for additional in school and after-school opportunities for students, including:

  • $165,000 to the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club.
  • $15,000 for Publicolor’s paint club.
  • $15,000 to Education Through Music & Broadway.
  • $17,000 to the Castle Hill and Parkchester little league.
  • $15,000 to Fan4Kids for nutrition education.

To bolster our senior centers I delivered $157,000 to provide:

  • $60,000 to RAIN for the Parkchester and Mechler Hall Senior Centers.
  • $20,000 for additional staff and programming at Castle Hill Senior Center.
  • $30,000 for recreational activities and the healthy again program at Monroe and Bronx River Houses.
  • $20,000 for senior programs at Sotomayor Cornerstone Community Center and Soundview Houses.

Additionally, $335,000 is invested toward providing job training and placement services, including for those who were formerly incarcerated, and support women seeking jobs in construction:

  • $200,000 to support non-traditional employment for women to expand job trainings.
  • $100,000 to the Fortune Society’s job trainings for formerly incarcerated persons.
  • $25,000 to Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation (WHEDco) for job training and placement.
  • $10,000 to Bronxworks for job training, Pre-GED, GED and ESOL services.

As your councilmember, providing resources for our community is my priority. Years of divestment and lack of representation at City Hall have equaled years of stagnation in our neighborhoods. I was elected to bring back real investments through infrastructure, development, youth and senior programming — things which help improve people’s lives daily. What you read are just some of the investments made, but not all. Check out my website at https://council.nyc.gov/amanda-farias/2022/07/25/budget-resources/ to read the full budget.

Amanda Farías is the councilmember for the 18th District, representing parts of Castle Hill, Clason Point, Harding Park, Parkchester, Shorehaven and Soundview. To read her previous column, click here.

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