Brooklyn Lawmakers on the Move Feb. 10, 2021

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Lander Plan for “Investing Better in Our Infrastructure”

Councilmember Brad Lander (D-Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Columbia Waterfront, Gowanus, Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Borough Park, Kensington) yesterday released a plan to overhaul the City’s capital projects to get projects built on-time and on-budget and save money. 

“Investing better in our infrastructure will help jumpstart a bold, long-term recovery for New York City. Right now, NYC’s byzantine capital construction process wastes millions of dollars and shortchanges our chance to build a better future. As Comptroller, I will implement reforms and hold City agencies accountable to deliver more, better infrastructure, both on-time and on-budget,” said Lander.

“Overhauling the City’s planning, design, procurement and construction process will deliver the critical infrastructure New York City needs to recover from the COVID-19 crises equitably, create good jobs for New Yorkers with an emphasis on MWBEs, make our communities healthier, mitigate climate change, and create a stronger future for generations to come.” 

His plan includes: 

  • Establishing a dedicated audit team to root out waste, identify best practices, and push ambitious internal reforms. 
  • Overseeing the City’s forthcoming Capital Projects Tracker to monitor capital projects and hold the poorest performing agencies accountable. 
  • Converting the city’s haphazard capital budgeting process into a Long Term Infrastructure Plan, grounded in a real analysis of aging infrastructure and comprehensive planning for the future.
  • Growing MWBE business capacity and expanding the City’s local and community hiring and workforce development initiatives to ensure the high-quality, high-paying construction jobs created by City capital dollars are accessible to New Yorkers.
  • Prioritizing green procurement in the City’s capital program and implementing a “Green Bond” program for New York City.
  • Updating the Comptroller’s eligibility rules for capital projects to unlock more funds for the infrastructure of the future—from solar panels to broadband access for all.  

Gillibrand to Improve Mental Health Care

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and U.S. Rep. David Trone (D-MD) urged Congress to include robust funding for substance use disorder and mental health care services in the next coronavirus relief package.

In their letters to Senate and House leadership, the lawmakers called for $10 billion in funding for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), dedicated to the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant and Community Mental Health Services Block Grant programs. 

“The pandemic has exacerbated our country’s addiction crisis and we must do more to address the troubling trend of high rates of mental health and substance use disorders,” said Gillibrand. “Many mental health care and substance use disorder support services face the heavy burden of helping Americans in need with limited resources. Shoring up SAMHSA with robust funding in the next package would ensure resources are available to those recovering from substance use and will help save lives.”

Since the pandemic began, social isolation, increased financial stress, loss of work, lack of structured time, and daily uncertainty have exacerbated mental health issues and substance use disorders and caused overdose rates to soar. The CDC reported over 81,000 drug overdose deaths in the United States between July 2019 and June 2020 — the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in a 12-month period. Meanwhile, mental health and addiction providers and organizations have been overwhelmed by need and are at risk of closing their doors because of the financial uncertainty originating from the pandemic. 

Cornegy Holds Hearing on Sign Violation Moratorium

City Council Member Robert Cornegy (D-Bedford Stuyvesant, Northern Crown Heights), Chair of the Committee on Housing and Buildings, will hold a remote committee hearing today. 

This bill they will be discussing would amend Local Law 28 of 2019 to extend the recently expired two-year moratorium on the issuance of accessory sign violations for two additional years. The proposed legislation would also increase the 75% waiver of certain permit fees related to accessory sign installation to a 100% waiver of such fees.

This event is slated to take place at 3 p.m. today Feb. 10, at Watch here