Thursday, June 14, 2012

Willets Point: At What Cost?

No we all know that the city is looking to aggressively cut costs because of a budget shortfall; but what we don't really know is how much the city has been tossing away into the Willets Point sinkhole. As we pointed out last year:
"But the egregiousness of EDC's actions doesn't stop with the ramp detour. Put simply, the city is broke-tapioca city-and doesn't have the funds and can't possibly justify this land grab under the current economic conditions."

This is as true today as it was a year ago-and probably more so. That brings us to this interesting report on the city council's budget hearings-highlighting the growing protests against budget cuts: "Public budget hearings June 6 gave City Council members and citizens an opportunity to push back against Mayor Michael Bloomberg's budget plan. As presently proposed, it calls for $670 million in cuts.Hearings started at 9 a.m. while a rally by dozens of children who would be directly affected by the cuts to the Administration for Children's Services took place outside on the steps of City Hall."

And during the hearing the Willets Point boondoggle was front and center: "The Willets Point project in Queens came into play when the committee was asked what progress was being made. Mr. Page could only say that of the $400 million that has been budgeted, $250 million has been allocated at this time. He could not give any more information on the project to the dismay of Council member Julissa Ferreras, D-Queens and Recchia, who commented, "Willets Point is a big problem with this Council."

As well it should be since the non transparent NYC EDC has never really given any account of the funds it has wasted. That brings us to a question we posted yesterday: "What price will Sterling/Related pay the City for Willets Point property already owned by the City? How does that price compare with the purchase price(s) that were paid by the City?"

We clearly know that the city over paid for many of these properties when it was looking to create a bum's rush at the city council in support of the hapless development. Will Related?Sterling pay the same price to effect the transfer of these properties? Or will the tax payers be saddled with the difference? Just another question that needs to be answered about the desperate attempt to do something at Willets Point-anything!