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|August 9, 2012|
|Cleaning Up Litter on Union Turnpike|
Gennaro and Quinn speak about Doe Fund and small businesses
by Stefania D?Andrea
City Councilman Jim Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows) and Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) spoke to area residents and small business owners on Aug. 1 about their fiscal concerns for Queens and the launch of the Doe Fund sanitation system on Union Turnpike.
At the Sly Fox Inn in Fresh Meadows, Gennaro and Quinn met with the Union Turnpike Merchants Association to discuss the impact the fiscal year 2013 budget will have on the city’s small businesses and on the Borough of Queens.
Quinn said she believes the people at City Hall cannot do their jobs unless the civic leaders and people in the community tell them what is wrong.
“I share your frustration that the New York City government makes jobs harder,” she said.
In a prepared statement, Quinn spoke about how the Council has passed a series of measures providing tax relief to small businesses, including an increase in the Unincorporated Business Tax fixed credit on incomes up to $100,000, providing $28 million in small business tax relief. She also spoke about the increase in the personal income tax credit for UBT taxes paid, saving taxpayers $35 million.
Jerry Caliendo, owner of Gerald J. Caliendo, Architect, PC, a general practice architectural firm, voiced his concerns about his difficulties with the Department of Environmental Protection.
Caliendo said that attempting to install a sewer system under the DEP is like attempting to assemble a space ship.
“All it is is a pipe,” Caliendo said. “What takes three months should take 15 minutes.”
Quinn said she understood Caliendo’s frustration, and that she and her staff would meet with him and other small businesses, create a Sewer Installation Reform Plan, and take it to the DEP.
After Gennaro and Quinn addressed the difficulties of other small business owners, Gennaro announced the arrival of the Doe Fund to Union Turnpike.
The Doe Fund takes New York City’s homeless and formerly incarcerated residents and puts them to work providing sanitation services in various neighborhoods. Gennaro has allocated $30,000 this year to the organization specifically to bring its services to Union Turnpike, and already funds the program in Briarwood and Kew Gardens. The commercial district between 188th Street and Utopia Parkway will receive the service, which will clean the area three times a week.
“There will never be litter on the streets ever again here on Union Turnpike,” Gennaro said.
Working with Gennaro, who is also chairman of the Environmental Protection Committee, the Doe Fund has added mulching and maintenance of sidewalk tree pits.
“For every tree cut in the city, one gets mulched in Cunningham Park,” Gennaro said.
His contributions have also allowed the fund to collect used cooking oil from two area restaurants to recycle into biodiesel fuel.
Ray Damm, director of CIP contracts and operations at the Doe Fund, said that Gennaro is the highest-contributing Council member to the group, for he allocated $112,000.
Damm also explained that the Doe Fund is a program that helps its workers “graduate” into becoming fully independent individuals. It provides them with housing and opportunities for education. The program has had 31 graduates so far.
The men in blue are now the men in green, he added.
“We’re helping people look for work,” Quinn said. “To me, that is a symbol of what makes New York City great.”
She also said that the city has an answer to every problem, and the answer to litter is the Doe Fund.
In a prepared statement, Doe Fund founder and President George McDonald said, “We are so privileged to further our partnership with Council Member Gennaro and the 24th District, which dates back nearly a decade.” He continued, “His amazing support is a continued source of inspiration for the ‘men in blue’ who strive to make New York City a cleaner, safer, and kinder place to live.”
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