Photo Courtesy of Councilman Richards’ Office
Councilman Donovan Richards (c.) made it a point to thank “all the local advocates, homeowners and business owners who have suffered through the flooding for so many years and never gave up the fight to ensure that our communities receive the adequate infrastructure that many neighborhoods take for granted.”
By Forum Staff
Community leaders and elected officials on Monday praised the passage of the southeast Queens sewer infrastructure tracking bill, which mandates that the City Department of Environmental Protection make publicly available online a plan for mitigating flooding in borough community districts 12 and 13.
According to City Council records, the plan must include, but not be limited to, a description of funding for expenditures allocated in Fiscal Year 2016 to mitigate long-standing flooding problems in southeast Queens, a timeline for implementation, annual performance milestones, and a description of funds anticipated to be expended by or on behalf of the City in connection with such flood mitigation.
In 2015, City Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) noted, a historic 10-year plan by Mayor Bill de Blasio committed $1.7 billion to build out a sewer system that never caught up with the population growth in the area.
“Homeowners have been forced to swallow flooded lawns, streets and basements because proper drainage was never built out for southeast Queens communities,” Richards said. “Administration after administration ignored their pleas for help.”
On Monday, Richards, and Councilmen I. Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans) and Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria), chairman of the Council Committee on Environmental Protection, hailed the infrastructure tracking bill, signed into law by de Blasio on March 21, as a real solution.
“For decades, residents of Southeast Queens have lived with the fact that a slight rain could end in their home being flooded,” Richards said. “This bill will ensure that the plan is implemented in a timely fashion and the community can be updated on the progress on a regular basis. I’d like to thank Mayor de Blasio, former DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd, Acting DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza and Council Members Miller and Constantinides for all of their work and support in making this bill come to fruition. I’d also like to thank all the local advocates, homeowners and business owners who have suffered through the flooding for so many years and never gave up the fight to ensure that our communities receive the adequate infrastructure that many neighborhoods take for granted.”
According to the councilmen, the first report will be available in early 2018 and will be required for 15 years.
“For decades, residents in our communities have had to worry about their homes being filled with water and have had to take extra measures to protect their properties. Not only will this online portal help us as elected officials hold the Department of Environmental Protection accountable, but it will also give residents a piece of mind to know that help is on the way,” Miller added.