The Council of the City of New York
Office of Costa Constantinides
(718) 274-4500

For Immediate Release
June 14, 2016
Contact: Shachar Sharon

Constantinides Helps Pass FY ‘17 City Budget

New York City Hall – The New York City Council today voted to pass a balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2017, which stretches from July 1st of this year to June 30, 2017. The budget included funding for public spaces including schools, hospitals, parks, and streets, as well as for community programming and educational activities.

Constantinides said, “I am proud that our budget invests in our children and our open spaces. We are continuing to make sure our schools have innovative resources to teach science lessons. Our investments in Astoria Park, the jewel of our neighborhood, will be a visible symbol that shows how much we care about this community. We have again made keeping our neighborhood clean a priority, which will continue to keep Astoria appealing to both residents and visitors. I thank Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and my City Council colleagues for their leadership in passing this city budget in a balanced and on-time manner. As these projects continue to implementation, I look forward to working with our community members.”

The budget includes:

  • Improving Science Learning Spaces in Schools. Constantinides made investments totaling $820,000 for public schools to build or improve science learning spaces. He provided capital funding to Young Women’s Leadership Academy of Astoria for a new STEM lab, a Science Technology Engineering & Mathematics based learning center. Funding was also designated to 2 schools for new hydroponic science labs. Plants and equipment will be installed in classrooms that use water and other mediums for plant growth. These labs provide hands-on education to students in many subjects including biology, agriculture, technology, and nutrition.Constantinides allocated $1.04 million for technology upgrades such as computer labs, smart boards, laptops, and tablets divided equally to all the 17 public schools in our district. These investments will ensure that children have the tools they need to learn so that they can improve our community in the future.
  • Keeping Astoria Clean. The Council again enhanced its successful NYC Clean Up initiative to $7.8 million citywide. Using funding from this initiative and his own discretionary budget, Constantinides will again designate over $200,000 for sidewalk sweeping and graffiti removal services in Astoria. ACE (The Association of Community Employment Programs for the Homeless) will sweep sidewalks and clear weed patches on major thoroughfares throughout the district. Funding was also allocated for graffiti cleanup throughout the district with Queens Economic Development Corporation.
  • Investing in Healthcare. This fiscal year, Constantinides allocated over $200,000 to the hospital for UV disinfection units that will prevent contamination and secured over $650,000 from the Queens Delegation for additional medical equipment. Since taking office, he has secured over $5.2 million for the hospital, which has been used for medical devices including a PET Scan machine to a robotic surgeon.
  • Upgrades at Astoria Park and Bulova Moser Park. Constantinides allocated over $1 million for upgrades at Charybdis Playground in Astoria Park. As part of Participatory Budgeting, $750,000 in funding was provided for new and upgraded water fountains and for gaming tables at Astoria Park, as well as a total of $400,000 to repair the handball courts and upgrade the adult fitness equipment at Bulova Moser Park. A designation of $70,000 was also made for a tractor to clear snow and leaves from parks throughout this district.
  • Making Our City Greener. In an effort to meet the citywide goal of reducing our carbon emissions 80% by 2050, Constantinides advocated to expand the Council’s successful “A Greener NYC” initiative. This initiative supports environmentally focused programs that encourage education, advocacy, community service, and green-job training. The City Council doubled the initiative this year to over $2 million citywide for funding to organizations across the city.
  • Investing in After-School and Summer Programs for Youth. This budget includes $39 million for the Summer Youth Employment Program, which will go towards providing jobs for over 60,000 young people. The Council also expanded its successful Cultural After-School Adventures (CASA) Initiative to $11.2 million citywide, which means we can allocate funding for 11 CASA programs in each district. Through this initiative, students are exposed to performing arts such as music and theater, and they get the opportunity to perform for their classmates. Constantinides will continue to work with Little Orchestra Society, Astoria Performing Arts Center, CUNY Creative Arts Team, and other providers to bring cultural programming to district schools.
  • A New Farmers Market in Northern Astoria. On Saturdays from July 9th through November 19th of this year, Astorians will be able to buy local food at Ditmars Park. Constantinides allocated $10,000 to GrowNYC for a Youthmarket, a network of urban farm stands that employs neighborhood youth to sell food grown in local farms. This market will make local produce available for more Astorians while exposing children to valuable lessons about the environment, business, and nutrition.

Council Member Costa Constantinides represents the New York City Council’s 22nd District, which includes his native Astoria along with parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights. He serves as the chair the City Council’s Environmental Protection Committee and sits on six additional committees: Civil Service & Labor, Contracts, Cultural Affairs, Oversight & Investigations, Sanitation, and Transportation. For more information, visit council.nyc.gov/costa.

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