Queens Lawmakers on the Move July 9, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Sanders Hosts Virtual Community Economic Development Training

State Sen. James Sanders Jr.

State Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-Rochdale Village, Far Rockaway) will host a virtual community economic development training on Monday, July 13 at 4 p.m. on Facebook live.

This event is part of a series aimed at educating the Southeast Queens community on how to create and grow their own businesses so they can take ownership of their neighborhoods, which is key to building generational wealth and avoiding gentrification, the release said. 

NYC Commissioner For Small Business Services Jonnel Doris will explain the Worker Cooperative Business Development Initiative (WCBDI), which offers innovative ways for New Yorkers to overcome economic and social inequality.

Film producer and director Taaqiy Grant will discuss his new documentary, HAPI, which presents a snapshot of economic history spanning from the dawn of civilization to the present day. 

This event is co-sponsored by Sen. Leroy Comrie (D-parts of Jamaica, Cambria Heights, Queens Village, Hollis, St. Albans, Laurelton, Jamaica Estates, Briarwood, Hillcrest and Kew Gardens) and Assemblymembers Alicia Hyndman (D-Laurelton, Rosedale, St. Albans, Addisleigh Park, Hollis, Springfield Gardens and Jamaica) and Clyde Vanel (D-Cambria Heights, St. Albans, Hollis, Queens Village, Bellerose and parts of Floral Park).

Community partners are: Phi Zeta Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., REMA4US, Rockaway Business Alliance, Flying 3Sixty, Inc., Minority & Women Contractors & Developers Association (MWCDA), Gateway JFK, Sutphin Blvd. BID, Merchant Association of Rosedale, Laurelton & Springfield Gardens (MARLS), and Blaque Resource Network.

Grodenchik and Vallone Laud Mayor’s Postement of Annual Tax Lien Sale

City Councilmember Barry Grodenchik

Councilmember Barry S. Grodenchik (D-Bayside, Queens, Bellerose, Douglaston, Floral Park, Fresh Meadows, Glen Oaks, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Holliswood, Jamaica Estates, Little Neck Oakland Gardens and Queens Village) and Councilmember Paul Vallone (D-Alley Pond Park, Bay Terrace, Bayside, College Point, Douglaston, East Elmhurst, Flushing, Fresh Meadows, Little Neck and Whitestone) lauded Mayor Bill de Blasio and Department of Finance Commissioner Jacques Jiha’s announcement Tuesday that the annual tax lien sale has been postponed until September 2020.

“In light of the ongoing pandemic, postponing the annual tax lien sale is the right decision,” said Grodenchik. “I urge anyone who is having difficulty making payments to take advantage of the assistance programs that the city offers.”

The lien sale is administered by the NYC Department of Finance, which sells overdue property taxes, water and sewer charges, and other property charges to a non-profit trust. The agency sends out four warning notices to property owners starting three months prior to the sale, alerting them that the property is at risk of being on the lien sale list. More than 80 percent of owners pay the full amount owed, enter into payment plans, or obtain an exemption that removes them from the at-risk pool. DOF also advertises at risk properties and conducts extensive outreach to property owners at risk of having their liens sold, often partnering with community groups and elected officials to reach as many property owners as possible.

“Postponing the annual tax lien sale at a time when many New Yorkers are struggling to make ends meet will provide much needed relief to those families facing serious financial pressure during these challenging times,” said Vallone. 

The sale was originally scheduled to occur in May 2020, but was previously postponed until August 2020 as the city focused its efforts on the COVID-19 outbreak.

Property owners who are facing hardships making their property tax payments can take advantage of several existing DOF programs. More information on those programs can be found on the agency’s website.

Vallone Announces $20 Million in Funding Improvements for Northeast Queens

City Council Member Paul Vallone

Councilmember Paul A. Vallone (D-Alley Pond Park, Bay Terrace, Bayside, College Point, Douglaston, East Elmhurst, Flushing, Fresh Meadows, Little Neck and Whitestone) announced that he secured $20 million for improvements throughout Northeast Queens in the FY2021 budget.

He secured nearly $5 million for upgrades at local schools and over $10 million for improvements to parks in his council district. In seven years of fiscal budgets, Vallone has now secured well over $120 million in funding for Northeast Queens.

“I am thrilled to share the news that these two Parks projects, long awaited and wished for, will soon see completion!” Vallone said. “These record financial victories for our Northeast Queens community are promises kept and will have positive impacts that will carry into future generations.”

Every school within the district will receive a minimum of $50,000 to fund important technology upgrades, he said. The budget also provides significant improvements to parks, with $5 million and $3.4 million allocated to complete waterfront, esplanade and seawall repairs at MacNeil Park and pathway renovations at Joe Michael’s Mile (North), respectively. Scope meetings for these projects will be held with the Parks Department and local community leaders later this year. 

A total of $1.6 million in funding was also allocated in partnership with City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan) for ecological restorations at College Point’s Powells Cove.

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