Borough President Fossella, DSNY Commissioner Tisch announce $70K in budget allocations to business improvement districts
BIDs across the borough a priority in budget for cleanup efforts
Borough President Vito J. Fossella was joined by Department of Sanitation Commissioner Jesscia Tisch today to announce $70,000 in discretionary funds from our office to business improvement districts and merchant associations across Staten Island for beautification of their corridors, particularly in the removal of litter.
A Business Improvement District (BID) is a geographical area where involved businesses oversee and fund the maintenance, improvement, and promotion of their commercial district. There are over 70 BIDs in New York City with approximately $160 million invested in NYC neighborhoods annually. All Staten Island BIDs maintain the public spaces within their district, including any clean up of their corridor, and program their district with events that directly impact the surrounding neighborhood.
The entities that received the funding include the Staten Island Economic Development Corporation (SIEDC) and their various neighborhood development projects, the South Shore BID, Forest Avenue BID, and the West Brighton LDC.
This funding is part of a broader citywide commitment to cleaner streets, and comes on the heels of an unprecedented $40 million investment by the Adams Administration that took effect earlier this year. These funds take street cleanliness significantly beyond pre-pandemic levels, and will cover 50,000 more litter-basket collections per week, new Precision Cleaning teams in the districts with the greatest need, and ongoing efforts to keep vacant lots from becoming filthy eyesores.
“We are grateful to have the opportunity to use taxpayer money to invest in several of Staten Island’s business improvement districts for their cleanup efforts, beautification services, and so much more,” said Borough President Vito J. Fossella. “These funds not only strengthen the economic landscape of the borough, but also give us a chance to show that cleaning up our borough is one of our top priorities, from West Brighton to Tottenville. I want to thank DSNY Commissioner Tisch for not only joining us today, but also supporting the work of our businesses and the vitality they provide to all of Staten Island.”
“New York’s recovery hinges on clean streets, and that’s going to take a real investment from every part of government,” said Jessica Tisch, Commissioner, NYC Department of Sanitation. “I want to thank Borough President Fossella for this investment, and look forward to supporting the various Staten Island BIDs in their important work of bringing New York back clean, healthy, and safe.”
"One of the most frequently identified needs of Business Improvement Districts and merchant associations is beautification and maintenance. The appearance and general cleanliness of an area can make a significant difference in its ability to attract shoppers," said Gina Gutman, Interim President of the SIEDC. "We're very thankful to Borough President Fossella for his support of our commercial districts and particularly the funding he provided for work in Rosebank, Graniteville and North Hylan.”
“Staten Island’s Business Improvement Districts have made significant investments in their communities, and we are thrilled to see their efforts supplemented by Borough President Fossella and DSNY Commissioner Tisch,” said Linda Baran, President & CEO of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce. “This investment not only works toward beautifying our commercial corridors, but also ensures that our shopping districts are safe and welcoming for customers.”
“On behalf of the West Brighton LDC and the Forest Avenue BID we are thankful to Borough President Vito Fossella for providing funding for sanitation and beautification of the Forest Avenue Business Improvement District commercial corridor. Having a clean corridor not only supports the local economy, it enhances the quality of life for our neighborhood businesses and residents,” said Nina Flores, Executive Director of West Brighton LDC and Forest Avenue BID.
Watch the full press conference here.
Statement from Borough President Vito J. Fossella regarding Police Officer Assault in Subway Station
On the heels of a bodega worker getting attacked and then arrested for murder, we now have a 16-year-old criminal fighting a police officer in a subway station, putting the officer in a chokehold, and then being released within 24 hours.
The world is upside-down when people lose the right to defend themselves and police officers can be assaulted without consequence. This is a signal that should never be sent.
Recently, the MTA released a survey which stated the number one concern New Yorkers have about using public transportation is personal safety. Too many people are afraid to ride the subway. After seeing this video, can you blame them?
The reason people feel unsafe on the subways is because the subways are unsafe. There are too many criminals loose without bail. Until bail reform is fixed, public safety in New York is going to remain broken. I don’t blame anyone for avoiding the subways until bail policies are addressed.
“I commend Mayor Adams and Chancellor Banks for lifting the vaccine mandate for public school proms. This will allow students the opportunity to enjoy their once-in-a-lifetime prom festivities. We saw the impact of vaccine mandates over the past two and half years that drove so much of Staten Island’s catering hall and restaurant business to New Jersey – there’s no reason for that now.
As we publicly stated way back in March, our students have suffered long enough with Covid-19 restrictions severely limiting their academic and social experiences. We are pleased to see the vaccine mandate lifted for proms. We wish all our seniors a great time enjoying this milestone event in their lives. I also want to thank Councilmember Carr and Councilmember Borelli for keeping the pressure on regarding this matter.”
BP Fossella Calls Increases Alarming, Encourages Citizens to be Alert
Staten Island Borough President Vito J. Fossella cited data released through CompStat, the NYPD’s crime statistic reporting system, which revealed that in more than half of the seven major crime categories, Staten Island has seen substantial increases.
Overall, crime in the borough increased by more than 40%. When comparing our borough’s year-to-date numbers, robbery is up by more than 56% when compared to 2021, while grand larceny has increased by almost 46% and felony assault by 33%. CompStat is a weekly-released collection of crime statistics reported on a city-wide, borough-wide, and precinct-by-precinct basis. These are then broken down into weekly, monthly and year-to-date percentages.
“This is alarming,” said Borough President Fossella, after the latest statistics were released on April 17th. “Look at these numbers – they reflect years of state bail reform which makes it easier for criminals to get out of jail, while making it more difficult for our police to do their jobs. We are also seeing an increasing boldness by criminals who feel there are no consequences for their lawless actions.”
“We will continue to work closely with Staten Island DA Michael McMahon, the NYPD, and our colleagues in government to address this spike in crime, but we also want to alert the community that the soft-on-crime approach of recent past years has failed. That’s why we continue to urge support for the NYPD and for criminal justice measures that actually protect the public.”
“And here’s something incredible,” Fossella added. “Grand Larceny Auto – stolen cars – is up 100% to date when compared to the same time period in 2021. This is not only the result of more criminals remaining on the streets, but people taking unnecessary risks with their cars.”
Local law enforcement encourages certain preventive measures including not leaving your car running while you go into a store, always locking your vehicle, and to avoid leaving your keys in the car, among others.
“While my office and the NYPD work tirelessly to make our communities safer by holding offenders accountable, we remain troubled by the rise we have seen in certain crime categories, especially Grand Larceny, Grand Larceny Auto, Robbery, and Felony Assault,” said DA McMahon.
“We know many grand larceny cases are the result of scammers preying on innocent and unsuspecting victims, and we encourage all Staten Islanders to help us prevent these crimes by remaining vigilant and always reporting potential scams to my office and the police. At the same time, with domestic violence accounting for nearly 56 percent of felony assaults on Staten Island, we also encourage victims of these serious crimes to contact my office, the NYPD, and the Family Justice Center to access resources and to help us hold their abusers accountable. To address the immense rise in car thefts, my office also continues to advocate for new license plate reader technology to be brought to Staten Island to catch the crews coming to our borough from other areas and put these criminals behind bars. We also strongly encourage Staten Islanders to take simple yet effective preventative measures by always remembering to lock their cars and never leaving their vehicle unattended with the keys still in the ignition.
Any amount of crime is too much, but my office and the NYPD have also been successful in driving down gun violence on Staten Island, even as it still plagues many other parts of our City. Shootings in our borough are down, and gun arrests and prosecutions are up for the year. Criminals know the incredibly serious consequences they face for carrying or using a firearm on Staten Island, and we will not relent in our mission to prevent violence and other serious crimes from occurring on our streets. I will continue to partner with Borough President Fossella and all our partners to maintain Staten Island as a safe place for all.”
April 17, 2022 CompStat Report Highlights
CompStat data is measured by seven index crimes: murder, rape, robbery, felony assault, burglary, grand larceny, and grand larceny auto. All increases are year-to-date 2021 vs. 2022.
· Overall crime is up 42%
· Grand Larcenies are up 85%
· Felony assaults are up 40%
· Robberies are up 40%
· Overall crime is up 61%
· Grand Larceny Auto is up 118%
· Grand Larceny is up 75%
· Felony assaults are up 83%
122nd Precinct (smallest overall increase in crime on Staten Island)
· Overall crime is up 4.5%
· Grand Larceny Auto is up 119%
· Robberies are up 137%
· Burglaries are up 23%
· Overall crime is up 70%
· Grand Larceny Auto is up 312%
· Felony assault is up 33%
· Grand Larceny is 67%
BP Fossella, SI Chamber announce initiative in support of local eateries that lost revenue from NYE celebrations
Staten Islanders are encouraged to dine in or take out from a local restaurant Jan. 29th
Borough President Vito J. Fossella, along with Staten Island Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Linda Baran and other elected officials, announced yesterday a new initiative that will support local restaurants which suffered a financial loss during the New Year’s Eve 2022 holiday. Due to a large number of patrons canceling their reservations, Staten Island restaurants were faced with an over-order of food supply, loss of wages for workers, and overall loss of revenue for their establishment.
This initiative, New Year’s Eve Part II, encourages residents to patronize local Staten Island restaurants on Saturday, January 29th by dining in or taking out. Diners who take a photo of their table/food and tag @sibpvito, @sichamber, and the restaurant on Instagram will be entered to win various prizes. Details of prizes will follow.
“We are here for the restaurant owners, we are here for the small business owners, we are here for the bar owners, we are here for the tavern owners, we are here for the catering halls who suffered and perhaps felt like they didn’t have a voice for the last couple of years,” said BP Fossella to a room of over 20 restaurant owners. “But, we’re here to say you have a voice and we want to be supportive of you. We want to be there for you. The New Year’s Eve that came and went was hurtful for many of you. It’s typically a big day for restaurant owners."
BP Fossella offered these words to Staten Islanders.
"Please think about showing your support by going to your favorite bar or restaurant, and if you want to say thanks for sticking it out these last couple of years, come out on Jan. 29," he said. "It’s a fun way to say New Year’s Eve came and went, but we can do it again.”
“I want to acknowledge the many restaurants in the room today that for the last two years have been experiencing one thing after another, adapting to closures, mandates, outdoor dining and more,” said Linda Baran, President & CEO of the SI Chamber of Commerce. “It’s really important that we all support our community and we support people that risk their livelihoods to stay in business, and the workers who really need these jobs. Let’s all come out on Jan. 29 and let’s celebrate New Year’s Eve.”
“We stuck it through and we came together as a community,” said Max Calicchio, owner of Max’s Es-Ca, who described the challenges restaurateurs faced as they tried to navigate the changing regulations. “When one of us was down, we went to help them. And that’s the way we survived -- and I think we’re stronger for it.”
To enter the contest, Instagram accounts will need to be set to public (not private) in order for Borough Hall to accept entries. On Monday, January 31st, we will enter all of the entrants Instagram handles into a randomizer to pick the winner, who will be notified through Instagram direct message.
BP Vito Fossella & Assemblymember Mike Cusick Call for No Discussions on Citi Bike Expansion Until Staten Island is Included in the Program
Ask that no discussions be held with Citi Bike on electrifying docking stations until S.I. Gets Service
Borough President Vito J. Fossella and Assemblymember Michael Cusick have requested that the New York City Department of Transportation and Con Edison cease any further discussions with Citi Bike about electrifying docking stations and expanding service until Staten Island can be included in the program.
Recently, DOT and Citi Bike have been discussing ways to connect Citi Bike docking stations to the City’s electrical grid. This would be an expansion of the Citi Bike service.
“How can a program be called “Citi Bike” when only four/fifths of the City is served by the Citi Bike program?” Borough President Fossella and Assemblyman Cusick asked.
“This is a matter of equity and it troubles me to see Staten Island excluded from such a positive city-wide transportation program,” said Borough President Fossella. “By requesting that the DOT and Con Edison stop any further conversations with Citi Bike, we hope to trigger an action plan to bring Citi Bike service to this borough. I thank Assemblymember Mike Cusick for recognizing the importance of this issue and supporting this endeavor for Staten Island.”
“Staten Island is just as much a part of this city as every other borough. There is no reason why Staten Island should be excluded from the Citi Bike program while the rest of the city gets to enjoy the benefits,” said Assemblymember Cusick. “As the borough with the least transportation alternatives, the Citi Bike program would be especially beneficial for Staten Island. I am glad to be working with Borough President Fossella to bring Citi Bikes to Staten Island.”
“We would greatly appreciate DOT and Con Edison’s support in this matter. It’s time that Citi Bike lives up to its moniker and includes all five boroughs of the City in its service area,” said Fossella and Cusick.
Several previous attempts have been made to bring dockless bike share to Staten Island. The companies Jump and Lime, now owned by Uber, proved successful in the spring of 2019 but the program was discontinued by the end of that year. Beryl, a UK-based company, was expected to launch a dockless bike share program in 2020 but pulled out of the deal due to logistical complications and other considerations relating to COVID-19. Citi Bike, established in 2013, has never been offered on Staten Island.
A Statement from Borough President Fossella on Mayor Adams' “Small Business Forward” Executive Order
I commend Mayor Eric Adams for his recent executive order. He is now requiring city agencies to scale back on what might be described as the unnecessary harassment of New York’s small businesses. It is refreshing to know that our city is moving in the right direction by aiding these hard-working men and women. Too many businesses have been unexpectedly hit with fines so excessive, often for innocent mistakes, that they have been forced to close their doors.
Announcements of this nature are what our small business owners want and need to hear. For too many years they have been burdened by overly aggressive enforcement. By reducing fines, issuing warnings, and allowing for cure periods, our city will no longer impose anti-business rules and regulations. This will allow us to show support of small businesses, not present, as the mayor said, “an obstacle.”
As Staten Island Borough President, I will take this opportunity to assist the mayor by having my staff compile data from our borough’s small businesses about some of the fines they have received. It is my hope that these examples will underscore the importance of these efforts.
In closing, I am so pleased that Mayor Adams has taken such an important step. He believes, as I do, that we should promote and support small businesses. This executive order represents a refreshing policy change and a new era of cooperation.
The mayor is modifying a policy that not only drained them of their dollars, but drained their spirit as well.