Borough President Vito Fossella and Kamillah Hanks Council Member-D49 around the former site of Staten Island Hospital in Tompkinsville, which has been cleared for redevelopment. Nearby, the Department of Sanitation garage on Jersey Street is set to close soon. They called this a chance to improve and enhance the area for generations to come.
“We have a golden opportunity that comes along not just once in a generation, but rather once in several generations to help reshape and positively transform a historic piece of Staten Island,” said Borough President Fossella. “We look forward to working with Council Member Hanks and other community residents to begin to map out the future of this site. I also wish to thank and commend Mayor Adams for bringing this 50-year odyssey to a positive conclusion.”
They discussed possibilities for the site, including building a new educational facility with additional school seats, as well as accessible housing for young people.
“I understand the significance of the site to the people of Staten Island, and I feel the best way to honor the site is to ensure its future development reflects the needs of our community,” said Council Member Hanks. “We are losing our young people to cooler, hip places like Hoboken. This site presents a great opportunity to begin to turn that tide and provide housing for young people so they can begin to build a future for themselves on Staten Island."
Built in 1890, it was initially named the S.R. Smith Infirmary after a local doctor, Samuel R. Smith, and was built in the shape of a castle. It was eventually renamed Staten Island Hospital and additional structures were added. When Staten Island Hospital moved to its present-day site in Ocean Breeze in 1979, the structures fell into disrepair. The City Buildings Department declared it a hazard in 2011 and demolished it a year later.
Borough President Vito Fossella and Councilmembers Joe Borelli, David Carr, and Kamillah Hanks announced Sunday that it will cost the city $580,090,000 to shelter the 23,800 asylum seekers who have come to New York City. This includes shelter stays, public school costs, basic health services, and immigration legal assistance for those who entered the city from April through early November. There will be an additional $16 million of fixed costs that the city will incur, and it is not guaranteed that any asylum seeker will be able to meet the requirements for granting of asylum.
In September, Borough President Fossella, along with the Councilmembers, penned a letter to the Independent Budget Office (IBO) of New York City to request a financial analysis on asylum seekers entering New York City. They said the model of handling this crisis is completely unsustainable citing that constant cuts are made to the current city budget. The letter reads:
“It is clear that New York City finds itself dealing with a challenge not of its own making, but nevertheless our first obligation is to our citizens and to understanding the budget implications of thousands of these individuals coming to New York City amid a potential budget crisis. This comes at a time when City Hall has ordered cuts to agency budgets, which obviously will have a negative impact on the delivery of services. In addition, there are some who predict a possible recession. Moreover, the stock market downturn will have a significant effect on the New York City Retirement system. In fact, Comptroller Brad Lander projects that poor investment returns will require the City to contribute an extra $6 billion to the New York City Retirement System (NYCERS). This cascade of budget challenges will have dramatic impacts on all New Yorkers.”
“We said then that this was a problem the people of Staten Island did not create. But somehow, it became a problem that the people of Staten Island, and by extension New York City, have to solve and pay for as of now,” said Borough President Fossella. “It was no surprise that when the numbers came in, that they were not low. There are priorities for taxpayer money -- to build a boardwalk, to build a park, to build roads. All that is established in a budgetary process. Taxpayer money pays for these things, and very often, we’re told, there’s no money. So, one question I would like to ask is where did this $580 million come from?”
He presented other options for the money to be spent:
“This invoice should be forwarded to the federal government to pick up the tab that they created. The federal government can step up and provide more people to review these cases so we can solve this problem faster and so this tab doesn’t grow at its present rate. For those of us who are more fiscally conservative, we would prefer to send a check. There are about 165,000 households on Staten Island. We would like to send a check for about $3,500 to every household. So, we ask the people, would you prefer to spend the $580 million on this situation or to send a check for $3,500 to every household on Staten Island?”
“This is money that could be used to keep our city retirees from losing their current health plan, people who have worked tirelessly for years paying their taxes with the dream of retiring one day,” said Minority Leader Joseph Borelli.
“Individuals cannot be allowed to continue to take advantage of our city’s generosity, of our absurd sanctuary city laws, our state’s right to shelter requirement and continue to run up the tab that could be going to Staten Islanders and other New Yorkers,” said Council Member David Carr. “The reality is we do have other needs in this borough that we are fighting to meet each and every day. This is just simply not sustainable, and it is not fair to our borough and our city.”
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Borough President Vito Fossella, Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis, Assemblyman Michael Tannousis, Councilman David Carr Deliver new American Flag To Deli Owner Mario Ariemma
Once Borough President Vito Fossella heard the news that a man tore down an American Flag displayed outside Ariemma’s Italian Deli, he had his office call deli owner Mario Ariemma and assure him that he would be getting a new American Flag and that this vandalism of his property and our nation’s flag would not go unanswered.
Borough President Fossella was joined by Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis, Assemblyman Mike Tannousis and Councilman David Carr this morning to present a flag to Mr. Ariemma.
“This is an act of vandalism against one of our respected small businesses and an act of desecration of the American Flag,” said Borough President Fossella. “We have provided a new American Flag to Mr. Ariemma. It demonstrates that we ‘have the backs’ of our small business owners and we have respect for the flag.”
“Our American Flag is a symbol of freedom and hope for so many around the world and in our community,” said Congresswoman Malliotakis. “It’s shameful and saddens us that someone would vandalize Mr. Ariemma’s property and our beautiful flag. I’m happy to join my colleagues in replacing the flag for this small business that is a staple in our community.”
“For someone to tear down and destroy the American flag is disgraceful and a slap in the face to the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives to protect our nation,” said Assemblyman Tannousis. “This type of despicable behavior will not be tolerated in our community. I commend my partners in government for standing up against this type of behavior and replacing the flag so it can be displayed proudly.”
“The American flag represents the freedoms and democratic ideals this country stands for. Our community will not stand for flag desecration or theft,” said Council Member David Carr. “Thank you to BP Fossella for providing a new flag to Ariemma’s Italian Deli so it can once again proudly wave over this corner of the community.”