$500M PLAN TO REPAIR SCHOOLS AND HOSPITALS
Emergency Spending To Fix Facilities
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, joined by several public officials, announced a $500 million emergency plan to make critical repairs to public schools and public hospitals damaged by Hurricane Sandy at a Monday, Nov. 12 press conference in front of P.S. 207 in Howard Beach.
The plan calls for an appropriation of $200 million for the Department of Education (DOE) and $300 million for the New York City Health and Hospital Corporation (HHC) to repair extensive damage to school and hospital buildings. The repair needs include structural restorations, new boilers, new electrical systems, roofs repairs, flood remediation and more.
The City Council was expected to vote on the appropriation plan at Tuesday’s Council hearing and, if passed, the funding will be an addition to capital funds in the current year (Fiscal Year 2013) Capital Commitment Plan.
The administration and Comptroller John Liu have also worked together to approve emergency spending for Hurricane Sandy relief, which now totals $134 million. The spending plan announced and emergency spending represent only a portion of the spending that will be required and additional appropriations will be made this year as necessary.
Bloomberg joined Liu and Council Speaker Christine Quinn in P.S. 207 Rockwood Park in Howard Beach—one of 23 school buildings housing 37 schools closed for repairs— for the announcement. The building will need new oil tanks and electrical wiring, and students, teachers and staff have been reassigned to other school sites in the interim.
The officials were also joined by Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott, HHC President Alan D. Aviles, City Council Finance Chairman Domenic M. Recchia and Council Member Eric A. Ulrich.
“Our city has never experienced a storm as destructive as Hurricane Sandy, and financing for these repairs is as necessary as is it urgent,” said Bloomberg. “These school buildings and public hospitals are resources that hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers rely on every day—and we are not waiting for Federal aid to begin the work of repairing and reopening them. This emergency capital spending is vital investment in our recovery and future.”
“A key indicator that our city is getting back on track is students getting back to class in their school building,” said Chancellor Walcott. “This generous capital investment in the repair effort demonstrates a commitment to the success of our students and the communities hardest hit by Sandy.”
Hurricane Sandy damaged public school and hospital buildings throughout the city, with the most severe damage in the Rockaways, Staten Island and South Brooklyn. As of Monday, 37 schools will remain closed due to structural damage and more buildings are in need of ongoing repairs. Students, teachers and staff have been reassigned to other temporary sites until their buildings are restored.
Bellevue Hospital Center in Manhattan, Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn and the Coler-Goldwater Specialty Hospital and Nursing Facility on Roosevelt Island sustained extensive damage and require repairs and replacements to boiler systems, back-up generators, elevators, ventilation, air-conditioning and electrical systems, and areas damaged by flooding.
The city already has authorized $134 million in spending following Hurricane Sandy to provide emergency services and recovery and relief programs. Those expenses include:
• $20 million for the Department of Transportation (DOT) to repair the Battery Park Overpass;
• $1.7 million for the DOT to repair the Whitehall and St. George ferry terminals;
• $12 million for the Department of Sanitation to remove debris;
• $2.5 million to the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) and Human Resource Administration for food and water distribution.;
• $2 million to the DCAS for the delivery of maintenance, repair and operations supplies for response operations;
• $5 million for electrical plumbing and water line inspections for homes in Staten Island and Queens; and
• $1.1 million to the Office of Emergency Management for additional ambulances.
The city’s overtime costs for the response to Hurricane Sandy will be in addition to these amounts already authorized.