Borough President Helen Marshall made her mark during her final budget hearing, seeking millions of dollars in funding.
Marshall, who is term-limited out, will battle for $1.6 million for senior centers and various programs across the borough. This discretionary funding was eliminated under Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed $70.1 billion budget for the fiscal year 2014.
“Without [this money], six senior centers will close, and four adult day care centers and transportation programs will cease,” said Marshall.
Representatives from community boards, hospitals, nonprofit organizations and more attended the hearing on Wednesday, February 20, to request funding for their own particular needs, ranging from $10,000 to expand programs to $750,000 for medical equipment.
Jonathan Gaska, district manager of Community Board 14, spoke about the devastating effects of Sandy and the Rockaways’ ongoing recovery, and Hans Kuenstler, Jamaica Hospital’s director of construction, requested $3 million to augment funds for a new Jamaica Senior Housing Corporation facility.
In what Marshall’s office has referred to as the most dramatic testimony, a sign language interpreter spoke for a deaf senior citizen couple, requesting continued support for the Peter Cardella Center in Ridgewood, the only program for hearing impaired seniors in the country.
All who spoke are hoping that Marshall will include their needs into her budget priorities. The proposed fiscal plan reportedly may slash community board budgets.