Participatory Budgeting Vote Week: Year Four! Decide How to Spend $1 Million

As you already know, this is the fourth year that our district will be taking part in the upcoming Participatory Budgeting vote. Between April 7 and April 15 throughout District 19, residents will be able to cast their Participatory Budgeting ballot and vote for the projects they feel will best serve their community. Through Participatory Budgeting, you can decide how at least $1 million is spent on improvements to parks, schools, libraries, streets and more.

When this project began, our office took suggestions from each of the communities within District 19. After gathering all of the project ideas, our office coordinated with community volunteers, who served as Budget Delegates, to create a ballot of projects that would best serve our community’s needs. These Budget Delegates met several times throughout the winter to narrow down the project ideas through field research, discussions, and consultation with city agencies. Nearly one hundred project ideas were analyzed for feasibility and practicality with help from city agencies, with twenty projects ultimately being placed on the final ballot for voting.

After the voting period has ended, our office will tally up all of the ballots cast and announce which of the projects have won. The projects which receive the most votes for a total of at least $1 million will be selected as winners!

Anyone who lives in District 19 (Auburndale, Bayside, Bay Terrace, Beechhurst, College Point, Douglaston, Little Neck, North Flushing, Malba and Whitestone) and is at least 14 years old (age requirement varies per Council District) can vote, even if you are not registered or eligible to vote in electoral elections.

We encourage you to cast your Participatory Budgeting ballot at one of these voting sites:

Your Civic Association Stopped 100 % Re-Assessment

One of the most important things that your Civic Association has done for you.

Below is the story of the civic associations fight against 100% Re-assessment in New York State. Although this fight  happened a long time ago it is always relevant as it affects people’s lives every day.

The question that bothers me and the other civic leaders that fought this battle is, is the City obeying the law? In particular we are concerned  that the part of the law that says that the sector, that one, two, and three family homes, is protected and  insures the balancing off of assessments, cannot pay more than 15% of the city’s taxes. With that sector protection, if assessments rise for some properties then assessments must be decreased for over assessed properties otherwise the 15% State Law  would be abused. Who is watching if the law is being obeyed?

It is important that individual home owners should be aware that the Assessment on their home cannot be increased more than 6% a year and not more than 20% in any 5 year period.

You might have seen on TV that Trenton New Jersey has gone through a 100% assessment of all properties and it is a disaster. Homes with Real Estate Taxes of $2,000 jumped to $9,000 one elderly lady’s home went from $5,000 To $40,000 well if it wasn’t for your Civic Association and a union of many civics in our State we would have had that disaster here.

In 1975 a lawyer who lived in Fire Island N.Y. was upset because his neighbor was paying a lot less Real Estate taxes then he was for a similar house. He sued the State and won, what was called the Hellerstein decision. The New York State Supreme Court decided that all properties in New York State should be re assessed to 100% of value.

Our old system of assessing was really a mess, as a home was assessed when it was built and never reassessed. Consequently older houses taxes were much lower than newer houses of the same size. Homes were assessed at 40% of value, and commercial buildings were assessed at 70% of value giving the home owner a break. To reassess all properties in one step would have resulted in the same disaster that Trenton is going through right now. Older people with fixed incomes would have to sell their home as they would not be able to pay the huge Real Estate tax increases.

About 1400 New York State Civic associations formed a united association and we called it The State Coalition Against 100% Re-Assessment, or SCAR. We fought a 5 year battle with Stanley Fink who was the “Speaker” of the State Assembly who was for 100% reassessments. For years wherever Fink went, we went, with our signs and voices. We were successful in defeating a Bayside Assemblyman (who was running for re-election) as he was a supporter of Fink and the 100% assessment. That shook Fink up especially when we spoke at a large meeting of a big Civic Association in Brooklyn in Fink’s Assembly district. With that in late 1960 Fink invited us to a meeting in Albany to hammer out a bill.

I said that we were 1400 Civic Associations and yes some of the upstate civics were active but the battle was for the most part, was fought by, State Senator Frank Padavan, State Assemblyman John Esposito, and 6 Queen’s Civic associations who were represented by their presidents. They were the, Queens Colony Civic – Virginia Sallow, West Cunningham Civic – Bob Harris, Bowne Park Civic – John Procida, The East Bayside Civic – Frank Skalla, Auburndale Civic – Jack Norris, and the Bayside Hills Civic – Bill Caufield (not in order of importance). In short we all agreed to the system of very slow equalizing that we have now. Our bill, S.700-a/A.9200 was passed into law in January of 1961. Details on Request.

John Procida 161-09 29th Ave Flushing N.Y. 11358   718-746-5200

Candidates Night

This is your opportunity to ask the candidates face to face about Airbnb, illegal conversions and the other neighborhood concerns. Get involved! Your vote counts.

The Broadway-Flushing Homeowners’ Association and the Station Road Civic Association will co-host a Candidates Night on Thursday June 22nd for all of the candidates in the primary for City Council in the 19th and 20th Districts. The event will take place at 7:00 pm at Church on the Hill located on 35th Avenue between 167th and 168th Street.

We have confirmed attendance from:
Councilmember Paul Vallone and Candidate Paul Graziano for District 19
Councilmember Peter Koo and Candidate Alison Tan for District 20
Each candidate will provide a five-minute statement to be followed with questions from the audience.

Bioswale Issues

February 2017: latest news from Senator Tony Avella. Please contact the Mayor about this issue. Several petitions are being circulated. If you don’t have access to the paper petitions, you may add your name to this form.

NYC has published a Bioswale Care Guide. Click HERE to read.

Northern Queens seeks opt-out on green infrastructure, 3/2/17. Click HERE to read.

December 2016 Letter from State senator Tony Avella re: Bioswale. Click HERE to view notice.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) announced today that she has arranged for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to hold regular office hours in her Northeast Queens District Office so that borough veterans can receive assistance without traveling further distances to VA facilities.

Under the program, a representative from the Department of Veterans Affairs will be available once a month to meet with local veterans and/or their beneficiaries to address any issues or concerns that they may have such as questions about VA benefits and services, information on pending claims, and assistance with filing claims. The first day for these special VA office hours will be Friday, December 2nd.

“I am very excited to partner with the VA on this important initiative,” said Meng. “Now, local veterans will not be forced to hike to a VA facility in order to receive help or information about their benefits or claims. It will be a great convenience to area veterans and I’m proud to offer it. In the wake of Veterans Day, we are once again reminded about the tremendous debt of gratitude we owe to those who served in the armed forces. We can never thank them enough for their service and sacrifice to this great nation. I urge all my constituents who are veterans to take advantage of these special VA office hours.”

Those seeking to meet with a VA representative in Meng’s office must make an appointment at least four days in advance. For an appointment on December 2nd, please contact Meng’s office by Monday, November 28th. The Congresswoman’s office is located at 40-13 159th Street, corner of Northern Boulevard, in Flushing. The phone number is 718-358-MENG.