NY Lawmakers on the Move, Aug. 22, 2022

Lawmakers on the Move

CM Joseph, Education Committee hold hearing on DOE’s reductions to school budgets

City Council Member Rita Joseph

City Council Member Rita Joseph (D-Brooklyn), chair of the council’s Committee on Education, today will hold a hearing on Resolution 283, calling on the Mayor and the Chancellor of the Department of Education (DOE) to immediately reverse the DOE’s reductions to school budgets.

The committee will also call on the chancellor to submit updated school budgets to the Panel on Education Policy (PEP) reflecting the restoration, as well as an accounting of unspent federal stimulus funds.

The committee will also call on the mayor to promptly utilize any unspent and unallocated federal stimulus or other funds and submit a budget modification to the Council to fully restore the $469 million removed from school budgets by DOE.

The public meeting is slated for 10 a.m., today, Aug. 22 in the city council chambers at city hall in Lower Manhattan. Livestream.

Won launches free home Wifi for Queensbridge NYCHA Residents

City Council Member Julie Won

City Council Member Julie Won (D-Queens) Saturday held an event at Queensbridge Friends & Family Day for residents to sign up for free home Wifi through the Federal Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), as well as the soft launch of the city’s Big Apple Connect program. 

Hundreds of residents attended the event, along with Congresswoman Nydia Velásquez, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, and the New York City Chief Technology Officer Matthew Fraser. 

The ACP provides a subsidy for high-speed internet to many qualifying New Yorkers, including those who have an income at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines, or any member of the household, those enrolled in public housing, Medicaid, SNAP, National School Lunch, and veterans pensions. Subscribers will be able to get free internet through this program or apply the subsidy savings to their existing bill. 

In addition to ACP, Queensbridge also had the soft launch of the Big Apple Connect program. Queensbridge was the first location in the borough to receive the program and other Queens NYCHA locations will be rolled out this fall. 

The contract has been awarded to Charter Communications (Spectrum) and those who are currently Spectrum customers were automatically registered for the new program today, giving them free basic cable, as well as free home internet services at 300 Mbps.

“Due to our tireless advocacy, in addition to the federal Affordable Connectivity Program, we also had a soft launch today for Big Apple Connect, a city funded free Wifi program. Low-income residents are eligible for both of these programs. There will now be free Wifi for all Queensbridge residents as of today,” said Julie Won. 

Richards Borough Hall on Your Block kicks off

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr.’s inaugural “Borough Hall on Your Block” initiative kicks off today in Southeast Queens, with the day’s programming led by a highly anticipated topping-off ceremony for the future 116th Precinct, currently under construction in Rosedale.

The $104 million new precinct and built-in community center — funding for which was secured by Borough President Richards and others — will alleviate existing strains on the overburdened 105th Precinct, which currently covers more than 350 lane miles across East and Southeast Queens, leading to longer response times. The ceremony, hosted by the NYC Department of Design and Construction, comes after more than four decades of tireless advocacy by Southeast Queens residents, who have pushed for a new precinct for generations.

Following the ceremony, Richards will host a press conference outside the Rosedale branch of the Queens Public Library — alongside Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis Walcott and NYC Department of Design and Construction Commissioner Thomas Foley — to proudly announce $3 million in capital funding for the facility. 

The allocation, spread across Fiscal Years 2022 and 2023, is earmarked toward a planned renovation of the existing library, as well as the construction of a new annex to better serve the surrounding community and the families who call it home.

The jam-packed day of public events also includes an 8:30am volunteer community cleanup of Idlewild Park and a Senior Services Day at the Rochdale Village Senior Center from 10am to 3pm, complete with fitness classes, benefit eligibility screenings, smoke detector giveaways and more. The former is held in partnership with the Eastern Queens Alliance, while the latter is held in partnership with the FDNY, the NYC Department of Finance, NY Connects and the Queens Public Library.

The community cleanup is slated for 8:30 a.m., today, Aug. 22 at Idlewild Park,149-20 Springfield Lane in Brookville. The Rochdale Village Senior Service Day is slated for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., today Aug. 22 at the Rochdale Village Senior Center, 169-65 137TH Avenue in Rochdale Village. The 116TH Precinct topping-off ceremony is slated for 12 p.m., today, Aug. 22 at 244-40 North Conduit Avenue in Rosedale.