Addabbo Calls For ‘Fair Share’
Addabbo Calls For ‘Fair Share’
City Councilman Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr., Chair of the City Council’s Parks and Recreation Committee, charged that his home county of Queens along with the four other city boroughs are not receiving their fair share of funds from the 1996 Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act and the Environmental Protection Act.
At a recent press conference, on the steps of City Hall Addabbo announced that he had introduced a resolution in the City Council that called upon Governor George Pataki to set objective standards for the award of grants of the Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act funds and to give New York City its fair share of the funds distributed.
Addabbo said the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance’s study of the state environmental bond funding showed that the upstate counties are receiving the bulk of the money. The study also revealed that even within the city there are sharp differences between the boroughs.
Queens received $19.25 per person while the Bronx got $48.22, Manhattan got $46.70 and Staten Island got $ 41.74 per person. Brooklyn came in the lowest with $15.86 per person. By comparison, Orange County received $102.85 per person and Westchester County got $26.52. Nassau County got $ 6.52 per person and Suffolk County got $80.51.
Addabbo noted that about $443 million is still available to be disbursed from the $1.75 billion bond revenue fund. The bond money has been used for a variety of programs ranging from preserving open space, buying clean fuel buses, historic preservation, brown field cleanups and the replacement of old coal-burning furnaces in city schools and increasing capacity at a sewage treatment plant.
Addabbo said that according to state Department of Environmental Conservation figures the City has received only $7.6 million, or 21.6 percent, of the $35.2 million committed to date for parks and historic preservation. Also, the City has received only $191 million, or 25.9 percent, of the $738 million committed to promote clean drinking water.
The councilman said Queens was also being shortchanged when it came to local Park Acquisition and Improvement funding. He said Queens ranked the lowest of the five boroughs, being allocated only $375,000 out of a total of almost $5 million for the City.
Addabbo said that although the city contributes 44 percent of the property transfer tax that is used to pay off the bonds, it has received only 23 percent of what has been spent so far. "This what happens when no one is minding the store, " said Addabbo, adding that a big part of the problem was that there seemed to be no criteria for how the state decides on what projects are to be funded.
He noted that the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation has filed 29 applications for bond money, however, to date only eight have been granted. "As of now the state does not provide the Parks Department the reasons for being denied on their applications. If the state did provide such information, the Parks Department would be in a better position to improve on their applications and possibly receive additional funding for our parks", stated Addabbo.
Addabbo mentioned he looks forward to having a public hearing at City Hall regarding the Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act and the Environmental Protection Fund allocation of funds hopefully sometime in September and that he awaits a response from Governor Pataki’s office.