By Nathan Duke
City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) said he handed out $57,000 more in member item funding from this fiscal year’s Council budget than community groups in his district received last year.
The councilman has delivered $415,000 to groups in Bayside, College Point, Little Neck, Whitestone, Douglaston and Bay Terrace following this year’s Council budgeting session. Last year, the district received $358,0000 in discretionary funding and two years ago got a mere $80,000.
“In a recession, it’s harder than ever for nonprofits and community groups to keep making ends meet and keep serving our neighborhoods,” Halloran said.
Member items are funded with taxpayer money and are distributed to each legislator to use at their discretion to distribute to programs and organizations within their districts.
The Council’s discretionary funding has been the subject of scrutiny during the past few years as some legislators have called for more transparency in how individual members spend the funds.
The councilman handed out funds to several churches in his district, including St. Kevin’s Senior Club and St. Mel’s Leisure Club, both of which are in Flushing, as well as St. Luke’s Roman Catholic Church in Whitestone. Programs for seniors and youths at the churches received a total of $10,000, he said.
Halloran, who isï»¿ an active Eagle Scout, also secured $7,500 for the Boy Scouts of America as well as $5,000 for the Girl Scout Council of Greatï»¿ New York.
The Greater Whitestone Taxpayers Community Center was given $10,000 to operate a community center and provide recreational programs for Whitestone seniors as well as $12,500 for recreational activities for youths.
A number of other groups in the district received funding, including $9,000 for Little League Baseball of College Point, $3,400 for the Bay Community Volunteer Ambulance Corps, $10,000 for the Bayside Historical Society at Fort Totten, $3,500 for the Bayside Village Business Improvement District, $3,500 for Friends of Fort Totten Parks and $3,500 for the Little Neck-Douglaston Community Ambulance Corps.
Some groups, such as Little Neck’s Chabad of Northeast Queens, were allocated city funds for the first time, Halloran said. Funding for the chabad will go toward its “Smile on Seniors” nursing home program as well as its youth program.
“These deserving organizations work hard for northeast Queens every day in our neighborhoods, churches, synagogues, classrooms and ball fields,” the councilman said.
A spokesman for Halloran said the councilman had delivered the most discretionary funding to the district since records on the practice were first kept in 2007.
Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4566.