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Liu talks pensions at CB 13

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City Comptroller John Liu said the mayor over-emphasized the effect the rising costs of pensions will have on the city’s budget deficit during a meeting of Community Board 13 Monday.

“The mayor is correct in pointing out that we do have a spiraling budget deficit,” Liu said at the Bellerose Assembly of God Church on Hillside Avenue, but “pension costs is not the only item rising steeply.”

Bloomberg said pension costs represented $1.5 billion in budget commitments when he first took office in 2002 and is expected to balloon to $8 billion in the next fiscal year. But Liu said the average pension is about $30,000 a year and city workers could have chosen more lucrative positions if they did not work for the city.

“The mayor failed to point out that pay in the private sector is more than the public sector,” the comptroller said.

Liu also warned that the state’s $10 billion budget deficit “may be balanced on the backs of New York City residents.”

“That itself can be detrimental to the city of New York,” he warned.

The board also heard from 105th Precinct Detective Jovoda Cooper, who said the precinct was assigned 18 additional police officers about two weeks ago.

The precinct runs from Glen Oaks in the north along the Nassau County border to Rosedale in southeast Queens.

Cooper said the precinct had not gotten more officers in about two or three years and pointed out that the 18 are experienced officers.

“They’re not rookies,” she said. “These are guys that came from impact precincts.”

At the same time, Cooper said the precinct is anticipating some officers will retire, but she said she did not believe the retirees would outnumber the 18 officers.

Cooper also said crime in the precinct was down 1.3 percent from 2009 to 2010.

But Cooper also said the 105th saw an increase in three crime categories during that span: murders, felony assaults and stolen cars.

She said murders rose to 15 in 2010 from nine the year before, while felony assaults climbed to 270 last year from 237 felony assaults in 2009 ´╗┐and the number of stolen cars increased to 384 in 2010 from 362 in 2009.

In the latest week from Jan. 17 to Jan. 23, Cooper said there were 35 total crimes — the same number that there were for the corresponding week last year.

Major crime in the precinct is down 14.3 percent so far this year in the span from Dec. 27 to Jan. 23, Cooper said, with 114 crimes reported in the precinct this month compared to 133 a year ago.

Cooper also told the board of a scam targeting elderly residents.

She said the scam involves a man in a worker’s outfit saying he is at the house to check the water meter and that he needs access to the home or else the resident’s water will be shut off.

When he enters the home, Cooper said, another man joins him and robs the house.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

Updated 10:49 am, October 12, 2011
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