2017-2018 Budget News from Council Member Ben Kallos

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Dear Neighbor,

New York City’s $85.2 billion budget for the coming fiscal year funds the programs and services that we rely on in our neighborhoods and keeps our city running, including public schools, transit, parks, youth and senior centers, quality of life enforcement, and of course the programs my office brings to serve you directly.

Over the years, I am proud to have secured or allocated funding for priorities in our community:

  • $100 million in additional funding secured for the East River Esplanade
  • $100 million in capital funding for improvements to public library systems
  • $50 million for 79 new buses on the M15, M101, M102, and M103 for delivery by end of 2018 and $1.7 million for Select Bus Service on the M79
  • $30 million to operate three new ferry stops that will open on Roosevelt Island this summer and East 60th and East 90th Streets in 2018
  • $22.9 million to support our seniors
  • $16 million to maintain youth afterschool programs
  • $12.5 million to expand free lunch from middle schools to include grade schools students
  • $200 million for NYCHA maintenance and repairs
  • $200,000 from the NYC Clean Up Initiative used for new large trash cans to keep our neighborhood clean

To get involved and active on issues that have a direct impact on your community and make your voice heard in local government, please sign up for our monthly newsletter at BenKallos.com/Subscribe


Ben Kallos
Council Member, District 5


Our community is home to more aging adults than anywhere else in the city. I am working to get every senior the services and support they need automatically with new legislation and am proud that this year’s budget includes a $22.9 million increase for over 1 million seniors including:

  • $10 million for senior center operations
  • $6.5 million toward increasing Homecare Services
  • $1.2 million in funding to improve Case Management Services
  • $1.2 million to extend the Weekend Meals Program
  • $4 million to launch a new Caregiver Support Program

In the district I am proud to provide $110,000 in discretionary funding to support seniors:

  • Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center – $22,000
  • Carter Burden at Roosevelt Island – $20,000
  • Lenox Hill Senior Center – $15,000
  • Carter Burden on the Upper East Side – $15,000
  • New York Foundation for Senior Citizen - $10,000
  • DOROT - $5,000


Cleaning Up the Upper East Side with 300+ New Trash Cans

We are cleaning up the Upper East Side with 284 new large trash cans covering 104 intersections, which I purchased with $154,780 in initiative funding from my office. These new cans supplement the 38 I purchased last year with $20,710 in initiative funding as part of a successful pilot with the East 72nd and East 86th Street Neighborhood Associations. The East Sixties Neighborhood Association joined prior participants in requesting an expansion. The large cans feature a smaller opening designed to keep trash from spilling over onto the street, limiting litter and rodents. I have secured $200,000 for the coming year and promise to replace every small wire trash can with a new large trash can on every corner that needs one and add another on those corners that need it, so please email me to request your new large trash can.

Eastside Taskforce for Homeless Outreach and Services (ETHOS)

Homelessness continues to rise with 23,365 children, 17,847 family members, 3,785 single women, and 9,873 single men in our shelters, and more than 2,794 people on the streets. I launched the Eastside Taskforce for Homeless Outreach and Services (ETHOS) with Borough President Brewer, Senator Krueger, Council Member Garodnick, Department of Social Services, community and faith leaders, and service organizations. I am proud to fund $25,000 for anti-poverty and more than $60,000 for food pantries including ETHOS providers:

  • Holy Trinity Neighborhood Center
  • Church of the Epiphany
  • All Souls Church
  • Jan Hus Presbyterian Church
  • Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter
  • New York Common Pantry

Learn more at BenKallos.com/Homeless

Waste Transfer Costs Soar

The cost of trash in New York City is soaring from $300 million a year in 2010 though 2014 to $360 million in this year’s budget projected to grow to $420 million by 2021, according to a report released in March by the New York City Independent Budget Office. The reason for the increased spending is the long-term contracts New York City has entered to operate four Marine Transfer Stations, three of which are slated to begin operations in 2018 and 2019. Upon learning of the report, I authored a letter with fellow Eastside elected officials and questioned Sanitation Commissioner Garcia at this year’s budget hearings on the MTS’ rising costs. By allocating this money in this year’s budget the city is literally throwing tax dollars in the trash. We will continue to fight the MTS. Join the fight at BenKallos.com/MTS


Winning More Pre-Kindergarten Seats

Since running for office in 2013, I have advocated for Universal Pre-Kindergarten, joining Mayor de Blasio to win $300 million from Albany, only to be disappointed with only 154 full day seats on the Upper East Side for 2,767 four-year-olds as reported by WNYC in 2014. I have worked with parents, community groups, private providers and the Department of Education to quintuple the number of seats to 618 in 2016. In response to the loss of seats in 2017 we rallied with parents, children and other elected officials for seats on the Upper East Side. During the Executive Budget Hearings in response to my questions the School Construction Authority announced two additional pre-kindergarten sites with two more in the pipeline for 2018–19 to bring over a hundred new seats to the neighborhood. Work with our office to identify new locations in public or private schools or even retail space by emailing BenKallos.com

Supporting Arts Education with Annual Show at Sotheby's

As a lover of the arts, I host our annual Public School Art Show at Sotheby’s, where students see their work hanging in halls that have displayed the likes of Picasso and Rembrandt. I am proud to continue funding P.S. 183 to organize this great event in the coming year. Hundreds of parents, teachers and young artists joined us from P.S. 6, P.S. 59, P.S. 77, P.S. 151, P.S. 158, P.S. 169, P.S. 198, P.S. 267, P.S. 290, P.S. 527, East Side Middle School, Vanguard High School, and Yorkville East Middle School. I am already looking forward to next year’s show, which I am sure will be even bigger and better. Learn more at BenKallos.com/ArtShow

Feeding Hungry Students

No child should go hungry in one of the wealthiest cities in the world. But children who arrive to school late, don’t have money for lunch, or are simply too embarrassed to stand in a separate line and pay with a free lunch voucher go hungry, and that is a problem. In all honesty as the child of a single mom with lunch vouchers, I was one of those kids who made the wrong choice to go hungry. I am proud to have secured $6.25 million in 2014 to bring a free lunch pilot to middle school students, $17.9 million in 2015 to fund “breakfast after the bell” to fight hunger for 339,000 children at 530 elementary schools, and $12.5 million for the coming school year to expand free lunch to every grade school student. I will continue to fight until all 1.1 million public school students can have a healthy breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner, so they don’t have to worry where their next meal is coming from and can focus on learning.

Green Roofs

Few schools in the district have enough greenspace for children to play or learn, which is why I am proud to fully fund green roofs at schools all over District 5 including:

  • P.S. 151 Yorkville Community School - $360,000 added to fully fund the green roof at $1,340,000
  • M.S. 114 East Side Middle School - $200,000 added to fully fund the green roof at $2,100,000

Learn more at BenKallos.com

Investing in STEM Education

I’ve invested over $2 million in discretionary funding to support STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education in our local public schools with new computers, smart boards and science labs. Technology is where tomorrow’s jobs are being created. For our kids to be ready for the future we have to invest in STEM courses that train them from an early age.

Schools that have received or are set to receive over $400,000 in STEM upgrades in this year’s budget include:

  • P.S. 158 Bayard Taylor
  • P.S./I.S. 217 Roosevelt Island
  • P.S. 225 Ella Baker
  • P.S. 290 Manhattan New School
  • P.S. 527 East Side School for Social Action
  • M.S. 177 Yorkville East Middle School
  • Eleanor Roosevelt High School
  • Manhattan International High School
  • Urban Academy High School
  • Vanguard High School
  • Talent Unlimited High School
  • Life Sciences Secondary and High School

Learn more at BenKallos.com

Schools Win Funding in Participatory Budgeting

Thank you to the 2,421 Upper East Side & Roosevelt Island residents who voted in Participatory Budgeting and decided on how to spend $1 million in our community. I am pleased to announce the top vote-getters for this year’s process:

  • P.S. 183 Robert Stevenson - Green Science and STEM Lab Classroom - 1,514 votes - $600,000
  • P.S. 198 Isador Ida Strauss & P.S. 77 Lower Lab - Playground Renovation - 1,139 votes - $500,000

Learn more at BenKallos.com/PB

Although the P.S. 198/77 Playground Renovation exceeded the $1 million, I will allocate an additional $100,000 to fully fund the project.



Improving Bus Service with New Buses for the Upper East Side

The Upper East Side is getting 79 new buses serving the M15, M101, M102, and M103, that will be delivered by the end of the year with $50 million in spending by the MTA which receives billions in funding from the City each year. After years of advocacy and analysis of BusTime data, I identified the issue of “missing buses” with the help of BetaNYC, BusTurnaround.nyc, and TWU Local 100. I brought the issue to the attention of the MTA who shared that bus lines based out of the Tuskegee Depot in my district were amongst the oldest in the system, leading to more frequent than usual breakdowns, and agreed to prioritize these buses for replacement. The new buses purchased this year by the MTA are equipped with WiFi, USB charging, next stop screens, and pedestrian safety measures.

Improving Bus Service with Off Board Fare Payment for M79 and M86

The M79 is an award winning bus line, having the dubious honor of winning the NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign “Pokey Award” in 2014 for the slowest speed with a 3.2 mile per hour crawl, slower than Hawaiian Lava flow. That is why in 2016, following great results from Select Bus Service implementation for the M86, I requested it for the remaining crosstown routes in my district: the M66, M96 and of course the M79, which cost $1.7 million to implement this year. Select Bus Service on the M86 and M79 includes off-board fare payment so when the bus gets there you can get on from any door and go, eliminating those block long lines, and speeding your morning commute.

New Ferry Service for the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island

Following years of advocacy, I am proud to secure $15 million for three new stops opening on Roosevelt Island in August 2017 and 62nd and 90th Streets by 2018, and annual funding of $30 million a year so that we can utilize our waterfronts to improve commutes. Ferry rides will include free WiFi and will cost the same as a MetroCard swipe.

Bike Safety Program

Drivers, riders, bikers and pedestrians have all expressed concerns about their safety, so we’ve expanded our Bike Safety Program with Council Member Garodnick to cover the Upper East Side and Midtown East within the 17th and 19th Precincts. Injuries are down for motorists and pedestrians. The program we fund focuses on Education, Equipment, and Enforcement.

FREE Equipment with Education:

  • Vests, Lights, Bells and Helmets for delivery bikes following training class
  • 90-minute training class in English, Spanish and Chinese for delivery bikes
  • Lights and Bells for recreational and commuting cyclists coupled with education
  • Free Helmets
  • Bikes for NYPD Bike Patrol

Enforcement in 2016:

  • 17,615 moving violations issued to motor vehicles (6,123 for improper turns,
  • 3,003 for running red lights and 1,450 for not yielding to pedestrians).
  • 1,865 summonses issued to bicycle riders for disobeying red lights and
  • riding the wrong way or on sidewalks.
  • 70 seizures of electronic bikes.

We’ve also added a protected bike lane on 2nd Avenue and bike lanes to 70th & 71st and 77th & 78th Streets. Learn more at BenKallos.com/BikeSafety


$100 Million to Expand the East River Esplanade

When I came into office, the East River Esplanade was literally falling into the river. Working with Congress Member Maloney as co-chair of the East River Esplanade Taskforce, I have secured $150 million from the city budget and kept work on track to rebuild and expand infrastructure from 53rd to 125th Streets:

  • „ $100 million from Mayor de Blasio to fill the gap from 53rd to 61st Streets
  • „ $35 million in work will finally begin this year to repair the seawall and fix collapses from 60th to 125th Streets
  • „ $1 million from my office is in scope and design for irrigation and planters from 68th to 70th Streets
  • „ $15 million to rebuild the crumbling stairwell will be completed this summer from 78th to 81st Street
  • „ $1 million from my office in this year’s budget for irrigation from 90th to 96th Street

Conservancies and Funding for Local Parks

There is less park space per resident on the Upper East Side than almost anywhere else in the City, which means we need to invest and care for every inch. I’ve been proud to work to help found or support and fund numerous conservancies and programs with $78,500 in Parks Equity Initiative and $35,000 in additional discretionary funding in this year’s budget for:

  • „Sutton Place Parks,
  • „East River Esplanade,
  • „St. Catherine’s Park,
  • „John Jay Park, and
  • „Upper Green Side

This year I allocated Capital funding from my office for:

  • „East River Esplanade Irrigation from 90th to 96th Street – $1,000,000
  • „Carl Schurz Playground – $475,000 to fully fund and complete the $2,462,000 project
  • „Sutton Place Park Play Water Fountain (to replace the sand pit) – $675,000 ($500,000 from the Speaker)
  • „John Jay Park Senior Space – $350,000
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