Taking advantage of the power of numbers in a close-knit community, Marine Park residents were asked to mobilize on a number of issues affecting them at the February 21st Marine Park Community Association (MPCA) meeting held at the Carmine Carro Community Center.
MPCA 2nd Vice President Bob Tracey introduced Assemblywoman Jaime Williams whose position as their elected representative is in jeopardy due to redistricting.
Williams expressed hope that the redistricting doesn’t happen and has taken steps to fight it. She said there was a hearing on the subject the previous week with a few people from the district in attendance. If residents want to submit a letter in opposition, they have until March 1st, and they are welcome to contact her office for assistance.
“The 59th Assembly District has been whole for a very long time and it’s very important that we keep the district the way it is,” she said. “I really do hope that at the end, I’m able to keep my Marine Park and Gerritsen Beach.”
As the recently appointed Chair of Real Property Taxes, Williams shared her concerns regarding Governor Hochul’s budget related to proposed changes in zoning laws to allow for expansion of affordable housing, increasing foreclosures due to rising property taxes and a proposed law in Albany called Good Cause Eviction, all of which she does not support.
She reminded homeowners to take advantage of the STAR Program, an annual tax exemption for property owners making less than $92,000 per year.
MPCA Treasurer Sal Starapola asked Williams if there was any legislation on the table to change the way property taxes are being charged due to rising real estate prices, as it has become a stressor for seniors and others on fixed incomes.
Williams said she is waiting on a proposal that was submitted under former Mayor Bill de Blasio to do a reassessment of New York City property taxes, but she can’t move forward without the governor and the mayor addressing it first.
Another area of concern for Marine Park residents was the MTA Brooklyn Bus Network Redesign proposal that would impact the B2 and B100 bus routes.
Community Board 18 District Manager Sue Ann Partnow called on residents to attend the MTA March 9th virtual workshop to express their concerns about changes to bus routes in a transportation desert where they rely on buses to get to the main shopping mall, doctor appointments and home directly from school. Registration information can be found on the MTA website.
Longtime resident Skhy LoBianco hopes that the redesign doesn’t affect the B100 bus because J.H.S. 278 students rely on it. She is concerned that existing problems with students getting into trouble outside of school may get even worse. “The shenanigans can increase if they don’t have this B100 bus waiting for them,” she said.
Jim Scott, who lives on East 32nd Street, across from Marine Park, asked Partnow if the community board can help with enforcing the rules and regulations in the park during the weekends in the summer, spring and fall. “There’s a problem in this park that is basically out of control,” he said. There’s noise, stereo systems with loud music and large parties taking place.”
Partnow told him to send her an email and that everyone should reach out to her office if they have any problems, but that they shouldn’t forget about March 9th. “All the voices should be heard and there’s strength in numbers,” she said. “Let the MTA know what’s going on and how unhappy you are – that you’re not going to stand for it.”
Sector B Neighborhood Coordination Officer (NCO) Tricia Navarro-Caraballo called on residents to attend their quarterly Build the Block meetings to bring quality of life complaints such as the one raised by Scott or to contact her by phone.
“We do a lot of meetings and we don’t get the showing that we need,” she said of the last meeting where no one showed up.