Mayor Targets Engine 328, CB14... Again
Few things in Rockaway are as guaranteed as the yearly proposed closing of Engine 328 in Far Rockaway. Year after year when Mayor Bloomberg makes his proposed fiscal year budget public, he attempts to close or reduce hours of New York City firehouses. This year is, once again, no exception for “The Big House.”
The arguments to keep it open remain the same which include the isolation of Rockaway and the threat of increased response times in cases of multiple alarm fires. Each year the threat of closing Engine 328 leads to protests from local politicians and community leaders that signify the fire company’s importance to the peninsula. This year should be no different as Bloomberg is threatening to close, for the fourth time, one of “The “Big House’s” three engine companies as part of his fiscal year 2013 budget.
Engine 328, located at 16-15 Central Avenue shares “The “Big House” with Engine 264 and Ladder 134. Last year Bloomberg threatened to close 20 firehouses but rescinded on the proposal by the time the budget was approved. This year he is once again requesting the closure of 20 firehouses, many the same from last year’s list.
The community boards are another area that Bloomberg has targeted each and every fiscal year. This time around, he is proposing a six percent cut to all community board budgets, which by most local accounts will hinder basic operations of the boards and eliminate crucial office staff who often respond to many of the community’s basic inquires.
In previous cases the community boards have been bailed out by Queens Borough President Helen Marshall. Another notable series of cuts is more than $27 million from the Queens Library system which can severely limit the hours and days of the week libraries are open and the number of programs they can offer the community. The Council will negotiate the budget with the mayor, which is expected to pass by July 1.