Queens Lawmakers on the Move Nov. 17, 2020

Queens County City Council News

BP Lee to be Briefed on Snow Removal, Nightlife

Acting Borough President Sharon Lee.

Acting Borough President Sharon Lee, Chair of the Queens Borough Cabinet, and the cabinet will hear a presentation by the New York City Department of Sanitation on its boroughwide snow removal plan for the 2020-21 winter season on Tuesday.

The department will discuss its pre-winter planning process, plow routes, storm response, snow removal priority, staffing and more ahead of the upcoming winter months.

In addition, the New York City Office of Nightlife, part of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME), will deliver a presentation on its Mediating Establishment and Neighbor Disputes (MEND NYC) program, a new citywide initiative that provides free mediation and conflict resolution services to address neighborhood disputes between nightlife establishments and their neighbors. This program aims to facilitate direct communication and compromise and establish respectful and ongoing relationships to help city residents live peacefully in their communities, while ensuring that small businesses thrive.

This meeting, which will take place on Tuesday, November 17 at 9:30 a.m., will be conducted virtually. It will be live-streamed to the public on the Borough President’s website.

Gianaris Urges Biden to Provide Relief for Tenants, Small Businesses

Senator Michael Gianaris

Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, parts of Woodside, Maspeth, Ridgewood, Woodhaven) wrote to President-Elect Joe Biden last week urging him to prioritize relief for residential tenants and small businesses as he transitions to the White House. 

As COVID-19 spikes again in New York State, Senator Gianaris urges the incoming president to provide more aid for tenants and small businesses, including rent forgiveness.

“New Yorkers will be called upon to make great sacrifices as covid-19 spikes across our city. While everyone is willing to make great sacrifices, we need the federal government to step up and help,” said Gianaris. “President-elect Joe Biden has always had New York’s back and we need him to make relief for our residential tenants and small businesses a top priority for his transition and administration.”

Gianaris’ full letter is available here.

Van Bramer Holds Hearing on Public Libraries and COVID-19

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer/Facebook

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City, Astoria, Dutch Kills), Chair of the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations and the committee are holding an oversight hearing on the New York City Public libraries and COVID-19 on Tuesday. 

For more information, see the agenda

The remote hearing will take place on Tuesday November 17 at 10 am in Virtual Room 3.

Adams Holds Hearing on Land Use Applications

City Council Member Adrienne Adams

City Councilmember Adrienne Adams (D-Jamaica, Richmond Hill, Rochdale Village, South Ozone Park), Chair of the Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Sitings and Dispositions and the subcommittee are holding a hearing on several items on Tuesday. 

They will discuss two land use applications, one in property in Queens and the other in Brooklyn. Please see the agenda for more details. 

The remote hearing will take place on Tuesday at 2 p.m. in Virtual Room 1.

Stringer Calls for Federal Aid for NYC

Comptroller Scott Stringer

New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer (D) sent a letter on Monday to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin calling on the 116th Congress to deliver a fair federal aid package to New York before the end of session as a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic gathers momentum.

Stringer urged Congress and the administration to extend programs set to expire at the end of the year, such as direct cash assistance and the $600 weekly Pandemic Unemployment Assistance to help families struggling with unemployment, as well as the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) to help small businesses and nonprofits survive lockdowns and loss of customers.

As New York grapples with rising public healthcare spending, Stringer proposed extending and bolstering the enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (eFMAP) to cover rising medical caseloads and has proven effective in providing fiscal relief to state and local governments. Highlighting school reopenings as another urgent challenge, Stringer called for more support for remote learning – including funding for remote learning devices, affordable and reliable internet access, and additional staffing needed to keep schools clean and healthy.

Stringer also underscored the importance of public transit to New York City’s economic recovery. The Comptroller’s report on the city’s frontline workforce found that 55 percent of frontline workers used the subway, bus, or rail to get to work each day prior to the pandemic.

The full letter is available below and here.

De Blasio Reaches Agreement with Sanitation Union

Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced on Monday that the city reached $722 million in labor savings in fiscal year 2021, following an agreement with Teamsters Local 831, the Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association, that saves approximately $27 million in fiscal year 2021 and is consistent with deals with the United Federation of Teachers, Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, District Council 37 and the Communication Workers of America Local 1180. 

The city still needs a minimum of $5 billion in federal or state relief in order to avoid drastic action such as layoffs for fiscal year 2022.  

“As chances for a robust federal stimulus rise with the incoming Biden administration, New York City has still gotten to work making tough choices to balance the budget,” said de Blasio. “I thank Harry Nespoli for coming to the table to find savings and avoid layoffs, and his members for always keeping our city clean and safe.”

The agreement with Teamsters Local 831, the Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association includes:  

Deferred payment: Payment of retroactive pay, which had been scheduled for October 2020, is deferred to Fiscal Year 2022. There is also an agreement to defer four months of retiree welfare fund contributions until November 2021 and the deferral of a lump sum payment to the annuity fund until December 2021.

Commitment on layoffs: No layoffs through June 30, 2021. If the City receives State and Federal assistance of $5 billion or more, the no-layoff pledge is extended to June 30, 2022.