Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Queens pol has high hopes for Sandy Funding Tracker
By Maggie Hayes
Councilmember Richards, pictured speaking at a rally for the Sandy Tracker bill, wants the legislation to create local jobs and promote resilient rebuilding in damaged communities.
Sandy recovery money is now under close inspection, and one Queens pol wants accountability for every dollar moving forward.
In November, Councilmember Donovan Richards introduced a bill that would track all funds related to superstorm recovery via an online database.
Before former Mayor Michael Bloomberg bid adieu to City Hall in late December, he signed the bill into law, along with 21 others. It will take effect in late March.
Richards said new Mayor Bill de Blasio and his administration will carry out the bill as it was intended, making sure local jobs are created and devastated areas are rebuilt stronger than before.
“De Blasio spent a lot of time with us during the storm, helping and bringing out supplies,” Richards said. “It’s not like we have to convince him we have a need.”
The Workforce Center recently opened in the Far Rockaway Queens Library branch is also equipped to prepare local residents for the rebuilding job opportunities.
“These things all tie into what we want to do,” Richards said. “Twenty billion dollars is going to come through New York City over the next few years. We want to make sure it’s distributed [equally].”
The Sandy Funding Tracker provides a funding summary, which gives an overview of all recovery money by funding type and funding details, broken down by borough and individual.
“You can see where this money is and where it’s going,” Richards said.
In addition to tracking federal funding, all contractors doing work locally are required to disclose everything from the wages they pay workers to the area from which they hire these workers. This is meant to encourage contractors to fulfill local hiring mandates.
The tracker also provides detailed information about projects and programs in each major category of disaster relief funds, such as Build it Back, the city-sponsored recovery program.
For more information and to see the website’s progress thus far, click here. The website will continually be updated once the law goes into effect.