Tucked away on the west side of the small town of Broad Channel in the middle of Jamiaca Bay is a narrow, dead end, street that goes by the name of West 12th Road. Those of us who live there know that the nice part about living in a small town is that when you are not quite sure what is going on, someone else always does!
[Peter J. Mahon West 12th Road, Broad Channel]
I wanted you to see this article from today's New York Post, which details my letter to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara asking him to investigate the de Blasio Administration for their misuse of federal funds awarded to the city to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in cooperation with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and National Weather Service, with the participation of state, local, tribal, and territorial emergency managers, radio, broadcast TV, cable, and satellite stations, will conduct a test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS). The public should receive both audio and on-screen text conveying that this is only a test. The alert is scheduled for today, September 28, at 2:20 pm.
That brings the bill for the program to $2.7 billion — even though officials are now helping thousands fewer people than originally planned when the program closed registration in October 2013.
Since the first cost estimates, there have been numerous changes that require more money, Peterson explained.
“There have been an extensive amount of additional design construction requirements that are required to actually build these homes,” she said, from sprinklers to additional staircases to new building requirements in the city.
The construction work is complex— from soil conditions to high water tables to the homes’ locations in flood zones — and many of the houses had problems that existed long before Hurricane Sandy, like asbestos and lead paint, she said.
Although Build It Back officials have maintained that the cost to elevate homes in its single-family program was only a few hundred thousand dollars, in some cases that number is closer to $1 million. For most of the homes, that's more than the house is even worth.
The increase was staggering to City Council representatives who spoke at the hearing, especially Councilman Mark Treyger, the chair of the resiliency committee. He called it an "outrage" and questioned whether everyone who wanted help would get it.
“We were told by the mayor, told by the administration, repeatedly, that this amount would be sufficient to help all the applicants of the Build It Back program,” he asked, noting that the number was around 23,000 applicants at the time.
“It is very hard for us to comprehend how, you’re now saying that we need $500 million more city money, and we’ve actually helped less than half of that 23,000 figure.”
When asked about the mayor’s deadline to finish all homes by the end of the year, Peterson did not commit to extending it. She did, though, say that some homes could be given an extension on an individual basis.
They are also offering better buyout deals for homeowners who didn't originally sign up for the state and the city's separate acquisition programs.
Applicants can get up to $150,000 in additional dollars to move, Peterson said.
Throughout the three-hour hearing, Peterson was unable to answer specific questions on the number of people still in Build It Back, or how much money has been spent so far. When asked later for specifics, a spokesman for City Hall, Raul Contreras, directed all inquiries to the city's Sandy Tracker website — which was down Thursday and Friday.
“With all due respect, this is a hearing about deadlines, a hearing about cost overruns, and you don’t have this information of how many people are left in the program?” Treyger asked during the hearing.
When asked about the program specifics at an unrelated press conference, de Blasio said he'd have more details around the fourth anniversary of the storm on Oct. 29.
"I can also tell you, right now, we remain positive because we have sped up the pace of construction intently over the last few months — got a lot more partners involved," he said, adding the city will have to spend its own money on many resiliency projects.
The Broad Channel VFW Prince-Wynn Post #260 is proud to host the New York Families of Autistic Children (NYFAC)... Bike Show and Swap Meet Fundraiser.... SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 24TH, 2016 STARTING AT 12 NOON Featuring Live Music by... WALKER AND THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE GRAPE Come on down to the Post for a fun filled afternoon and food and music and help support a great organization at the same time! To learn more about this or any other NYFAC event contact NYFAC at 347-566-3122 (X-306)
An issue has arisen regarding the street raising and final installation of new bulkheads on West 11th and 12th Roads regarding the completion date of this project. Presently the contractor's work schedule for this project on both streets involves actual street work Monday to Friday starting at 7 am with clean up and contractor departure occurring, for the most part, around 4:30 pm.
It now appears that the contractor's present work schedule will not be sufficient to ensure completion of the bulkhead completion work, street infrastructure, raising and finish work for the shared space road concept on West 11th and 12th Roads by December 2016. If the present work schedule remains as is, the estimated completion date for the project will be delayed several weeks well into calendar year 2017. If the completion date is delayed it follows that Build it Back access to those homes scheduled for raising and other work will be similarly delayed. It should also be kept in mind that a significant project completion delay into calendar year 2017 will place us into the the winter storm season which would cause additional impact for those traversing an already encumbered street by foot. An option has been offered to amend the current work schedule of the contractor in order to get this project back on track for a completion date of December 2016 which would entail extending actual work hours right up to 6 pm Monday through Friday with an additional (6th) work day being added on Saturday. I believe the additional work hours proposed for the regular work week (Monday - Friday) should not prove overly intrusive however the greatest impact sustained with this new work schedule would be the addition of Saturday as the 6th work day of the week. Bulk shopping trips would, for the most part, then be constrained to Saturday evening and Sunday. The contractor would continue to accommodate bulk deliveries (oil, propane, etc.) given sufficient advance notice of such delivery. I have already polled many of the residents of West 12th Road regarding this newly proposed work schedule and, for the most part, all agree that the best course of action would be to do whatever it takes to complete this project on time. I must also mention that there were a few residents who feel the addition of a 6th work day on Saturday would prove overly intrusive for themselves and their families. Another issue to keep in mind is that when the contractors complete their work on West 11th and 12th Roads and depart they will be quickly followed by private contractors (i.e., Build it Back, etc.) who will be constructing new houses or raising existing ones which will require strict safeguards to be put in place to ensure that such work by private contractors (including Build it Back) does not leave our newly established shared space streets altered or damaged. Nobody wants to see a brand new road-bed damaged or otherwise scarred by a patch work quilt of asphalt! In any event, these issues will be discussed at the next Broad Channel Civic Association meeting on Thursday, September 22nd at the Broad Channel VFW at 7 pm and I urge all residents of the affected blocks to attend same. Broad Channel - why would anyone want to live anywhere else?
Please be advised that Water Service Interruption previously scheduled for West 12th Road on Wednesday, September 21, 2016 has been cancelled. A Water Service Interruption remains in effect for West 13th Road Wednesday, September 20th, 2016, effective 8 am this morning and lasting for approximately 8 hours.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.