CB 8 wants city funds to help relieve flooding

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Community Board 8 members are crossing their fingers that Mayor Michael Bloomberg will fund some of their capital budget priorities for 2010, particularly projects to curb the flooding that has bedeviled the area.

These undertakings include rehabilitating sewers, catch basins and water mains to mitigate the flooding problems that residents say have made it nearly impossible to drive down Utopia Turnpike in a heavy rainstorm and ruined many basements.

“Flooding is a major issue,” said Marie Adam−Ovide, CB 8 district manager. “The most important issue is flooding on Utopia Parkway and the surrounding areas. We have flooding in streets and in homes.”

Board members voted 32−1 to approve their capital budget priorities for fiscal year 2010 at their meeting last Thursday night, with board member Marc Haken casting the dissenting vote.

Haken said he voted against the priorities not because he disagrees that flooding is a major issue, but because he wanted the rehabilitation of Cunningham Park to take a more prominent spot on the list. Cunningham Park was listed as the fourth priority.

“Mine was a sort of protest vote,” he said. “Cunningham Park is the premier park of Community Board 8, and in prior years it was the No. 1 priority.”

Haken added the park needs three of its five ball fields renovated. The community board was to receive $1 million from the borough president’s office for the fields’ rehabilitation, but that grant was rolled back to fiscal year 2013 because of budget cuts.

The second capital project priority is installing storm sewers or catch basins and⁄or taking action to eliminate surcharge in such areas as Hillside Avenue from Francis Lewis Boulevard to Queens Boulevard, Utopia Parkway and 175th Street and 75th Avenue.

Other priorities include funding trench restoration, providing a generator at each fire house, putting in a new sidewalk and curb on 199th Street between 67th Avenue and 73rd Avenue and rebuilding Cedar Grove Playground. There are a total of 43 items on the priority list.

Members also unanimously approved a 25−item list of expense budget priorities for 2010, which includes assigning additional personnel to the 107th Precinct; increasing personnel for maintenance of catch basins, sewers and water mains; and increasing funding for youth activities.

Both lists were sent to the mayor’s office in hopes the mayor will fund some of the budget items.

Adam−Ovide said board members hope “they fund some of these things, but we’re not optimistic with all the financial issues going on.”

State Assemblyman Marc Weprin (D−Little Neck) attended the Thursday night meeting and railed against Bloomberg’s recent call for legislation that would alter current term limit laws so he can run for a third four−year term.

“The problem is not extending term limits, it’s how they’re doing it,” said Weprin, the brother of City Councilman David Weprin (D−Hollis). “They mayor’s not doing this by referendum and he could’ve pulled this off if he had a referendum.”

“For the most part he has been a good mayor, but that doesn’t mean he should stay on his own choosing,” Weprin added. “It’s a good thing George W. Bush didn’t think about extending his term limit.”

Bloomberg has said he wants to serve another term because the city would benefit during the financially rocky times from his experience as a CEO.

Posted 6:40 pm, October 10, 2011
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