SEETHING OVER DOUBLE PARKING NEAR SCHOOL
Traffic issues near St. Margaret School, plans to expand gaming in New York State and city taxes were all hot topics at the Middle Village Property Owners/Residents Association (MVPORA) meeting last Monday night, Jan. 14, at St. Margaret Parish Hall.
Dominick Dale, a representative of City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, noted that the lawmaker is working with the city Department of Transportation to establish a “safety zone” around the parochial school located at the corner of Juniper Valley Road and 80th Street.
The safety zone, as previously re- in the Times Newsweekly, would impose a 20 mph speed limit on street surrounding the school. Any driver caught traveling over that limit would be subject to double the fines.
But attendees at last Monday’s meeting also pressed Dale for action to stop parents who double- and triple-park their vehicles on Juniper Valley Road, 80th Street and 79th Place on mornings and afternoons while dropping off and picking up their children.
One resident of 79th Place stated that school day traffic makes the block impassible, and that “parents get mad at you” when they are asked to move their vehicles.
Dale stated that he has spoke with St. Margaret’s principal, Dr. Philip Franco, about all traffic conditions around the school, including parking violations, and finding solutions to make things safer for all. “Arrival and dismissal should be done in an orderly fashion,” Dale told residents.
Another traffic issue which Crowley is working on involves the intersection of 69th Street and Grand Avenue in Maspeth, he added. Though a left-turn signal was installed at the location, a high rate of accidents continues to occur, he said.
Crowley and the DOT are exam- ining the situation and looking to other potential solutions to the problem, Dale stated.
Table games a longshot in city
New York’s lawmakers will once again vote on an amendment to the state constitution to expand gaming across the Empire State, according to Michael Armstrong, chief of staff to Assemblywoman Margaret Markey.
The amendment, as previously reported, would allow up to seven casinos in New York State to operate table games such as roulette, craps and baccarat. In order to be ratified, it must be passed by the state legislature in two consecutive sessions, then approved by voters through a ballot referendum.
Lawmakers approved the amendment last year and are poised to take another vote in the current session, Armstrong said. He noted that many had reservations over Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s remarks in his State of the State Address that just three casinos— all located upstate—would be opened under the terms of the amendment, should it be ratified.
“Resorts World New York [at Aqueduct Racetrack in South Ozone Park] is highly profitable,” Armstrong stated. “There were hopes that it would be authorize for table games, but the governor has other plans.”
Asked by Sal Candela, MVPORA president, why the amendment fixes a set number of casinos authorized to have table games, Armstrong replied that “there were a lot of people that didn’t want anything, and they had to make a choice.”
In Markey’s role as chairperson of the Assembly Tourism, Arts, Parks and Sports Committee, he added, the lawmaker would look into the amendment as well as other tourism issues, including securing greater funding for the city from the state “I Love NY” campaign and storm damage in state parks.
Michael Arroyo and Robin Washington of the Department of Finance answered questions from the audience regarding the city’s tax system as well as available credits for certain residents.
Several attendees questioned how the department determines property assessment. MVPORA Corresponding Secretary Augie Trinchese and others claimed that while the real estate market has been down for several years, the assessed value of homes has climbed, thus subjecting property owners to higher taxes.
Washington explained that the Finance Department uses a specific formula to calculate the assessed value of a building, which includes factoring in a portion of a property’s real estate value. Homeowners can file a protest with the Finance Department and with the City Tax Commission if they feel their assessed value—and subsequent tax rates—are too high, she added.
It was noted that the new statements of assessed value should be sent to all property owners in the city in the next few weeks.
According to Arroyo, the office has been very busy in recent weeks handling issues arising from the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. The Finance Department has been coordinating efforts to provide tax relief and credits to homeowners whose properties suffered significant damage or were destroyed during the superstorm.
Any property owners affected by the hurricane has until Feb. 1 to apply for relief from the city, Arroyo added. For further information, call 311.
Washington and Arroyo also noted that the city will publish its annual lien sale list in March. Liens are placed against the properties of any homeowner who owes three years or more of property taxes or more than $1,000 to the Department of Environmental Protection.
Anyone who is on the lien sale list is urged to reach out to the Department of Finance thereafter to work out a payment plan and/or resolve the outstanding debt. If the lien is not addressed by May, the lien will be sold to a private collection agency.
Candela announced that the Queens Veterans Day Parade Committee is working with State Sen. Joseph Addabbo and the Queens Symphony Orchestra on organizing a concert for local veterans later this year. He hoped that the performance would take place in the spring at a venue such as Forest Park.
The Veterans Day Parade along Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village, which was postponed in 2012 due to circumstances following Hurricane Sandy, is set to take place in this year on Sunday, Nov. 3, he added.
Members of the new 104th Precinct Community Council have been invited to attend the MVPORA’s February session, Candela added.
The next meeting of the Middle Village Property Owners/Residents Association is scheduled to take place on Monday night, Feb. 11, at 7:30 p.m. at St. Margaret Parish Hall, located on 79th Place south of Juniper Valley Road.