By Bob Harris
Chairman of the Community Board 8 Budget Committee Gerald Roth has announced there will be a public hearing for fiscal year 2004 capital and expense new budget requests on Monday, June 2, at Ryan Junior High School, 64-20 175th St. at 7:30 p.m.
This will be an opportunity for the public to identify community needs for the fiscal year 2005, which begins in July 2004. Community members who have new capital or expense items can speak. For information, call CB 8 District Manager Diane Cohen at 718-264-7895.
People should know that CB 8 has many committees that may be able to help and advise them on some of the problems that exist in our community.
Cohen has reported a number of items to the community. If you suspect terrorism, please call the New York Police Department at 1-888-692-7233 (1-888-NYC-SAFE).
People should continue to call 911 for crimes in progress in an emergency. One can now call 311 to report a quality-of-life problem that is not a life-or-death emergency.
The Metropolitan Opera will be in Cunningham Park on Wednesday, June 18. The rain date is June 19.
The opera will be “Lucia di Lammermoor” and will start at 8 p.m. The New York Philharmonic will perform in Cunningham Park on Wednesday, July 9, at 8 p.m.
Sanitation fines will increase on June 1. Most will double. Failure to sweep sidewalks and sweep 18 inches into the gutter will now be $100.
Other violations that will increase to $100 are those pertaining to dust or other substances flying in the air; recyclables not being separated from garbage; cans or bags being too heavy; snow, ice or dirt on the sidewalk; city litter baskets used for household garbage; and proper storage of receptacles (there is a four-hour time limit to put your cans next to your house).
If you see city litter baskets full of household garbage you can get a license number or notify CB 8 members at 718-264-7910 and they will notify the Department of Sanitation.
We have a problem on some business streets with city litter baskets overflowing. I notice this on Union Turnpike near 188th Street. This seems to be due to regular heavy usage. If your recycling schedule is midnight to 8 a.m., you will continue to have your recycling picked up at the same time. Mine is picked up at about 2 a.m. every Tuesday.
Recyclables and garbage should be put out by 8 p.m. the evening before your scheduled pickup. Do this in the spring and summer. During the winter you can put out your cans or bags just before it gets dark. If you put them out earlier, you may receive a $100 fine. Sanitation started giving out fines a few months ago for the first time.
At the April CB 8 meeting, two men from the State of New York Insurance Frauds Bureau were guest speakers. They warned that insurance fraud costs billions of dollars a year for which we have to pay.
The guest speakers warned that criminals have auto insurance rings that deliberately cause accidents. If you feel an accident was deliberate, voice your concerns to the police officer responding to that accident. Call 911 if you suspect a staged accident. Notify your insurance company if you encounter a “runner” at an accident scene who tries to steer you to a lawyer.
Sometimes a ring member will signal you to proceed in a parking lot and then deliberately strike your car. Some drivers will deliberately sideswipe your car or pull in front of you and stop short. Don’t take the advice of a witness to an accident. Watch for scams, and always call the police if there is an accident. If you suspect fraud call 1-888-FRAUDNY.
CB 8 Board member Bernie Diamond spoke about a conference addressing underage drinking. St. John’s University received a $12,000 grant to address this issue by surveying students’ drinking habits.
Each year college drinking causes students to die from unintentional injuries and causes assaults, sexual assaults and date rapes.
Good and Bad News of the Week
The state Legislature is passing a budget, late again. The later the budget, the more municipalities have to borrow money and pay high rates of interest. Costs are added when the budget comes late.
I always rant against pork-barrel laws that waste money on projects that are unnecessary but that local legislators feel their constituents want. We also hire too many consultants who have ties to officials. There will be more discussion on the budget when it is finalized and we can figure out the borrowing costs.
I just read that the fuel economy of the nation’s cars, SUVs and trucks fell to its lowest level in 22 years in the 2002 model year. These vehicles account for about 40 percent of the nation’s oil consumption and one-fifth of its carbon dioxide, which many scientists contribute to global warming.
Why can’t our government force the automotive industry to improve fuel economy and decrease pollution that causes asthma?
What are they doing to our health and quality of life?