The RIRA Column
November 21, 2015
Public Purpose Funds
The Public Purpose Funds (PPF) process has wrapped up and the RIRA PPF Committee’s debate over the allocation of the funds has concluded. During a special session of the RIRA Common Council on November 11, the committee presented their report and, after lengthy discussion, recommendations as to the proposed allocations of public purpose funds were affirmed by the Common Council, as follows:
• PS/IS 217 Parent Teachers Association (PTA), $17,000
• Roosevelt Island Visual Arts Association (RIVAA), $9,300
• Life Frames, Inc., $5,000
• Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS), $8,000
• Roosevelt Island Senior Association (RISA), $15,000
• Island Kids, $7,000
• Roosevelt Island Disabled Association (RIDA), $11,000
• Youth Center-iDig2Learn, $9,000
• Main Street Theater and Dance Alliance $18,700
It goes beyond saying that the PFF process for 2015 funds, which took more than one-and-a-half years to conclude, was a long and often challenging one. RIOC and the members of the PPF Committee cooperatively worked very hard to keep the process transparent, adhere to the state and statutory rules and guidelines governing the process, maintain the highest standard of ethical decision-making from both a legal and personal standpoint, and work within the often difficult constraints that the process provided to ensure that all Island organizations who applied for funding received fair financial support. We and the Roosevelt Island community commend the members of the PPF Committee for their hard work, dedication and tremendous contribution to the community and those non-profits organizations applying for funds, especially given the circumstances of this year.
PS/IS 217 G&T Forum
Join a RIRA Committee
We are all community servants at some point in our lives. Whether it be as employees of government and for non-profits, elected officials, members of boards and community organizations, volunteers, philanthropists or merely donors to an organization serving a community, at one time or another a piece of us is contributed to the greater good. Service to the community, in the truest sense, attracts a special kind of individual and is often based on a sense of duty or a commitment to a cause that extends beyond the needs of the moment. For some, investing in your community ensures a return three times over to a place where you live, breathe, work and play. For others, it is giving back to a community that invested in them. Regardless of one’s motives, providing service to the community embodies the principles of common good, service to others and social equity.
With the election of David Lawson, Westview Representative, as chair of RIRA’s Planning Committee, the leadership of RIRA Common Council’s Committees is fully realized. As I have said many times, the work of RIRA is done largely through its committees, and you, as a RIRA member (as all Islanders are), are eligible to serve on as many committees as you wish. Are you concerned about the disappearance of affordable units on the Island? The RIRA Housing Committee wants you. Do you have ideas on how our infrastructure can more efficiently and safely serve our growing population? The RIRA Planning and RIRA Island Services Committees need your services. The following is but a small slice of the active RIRA committees that you and any of your neighbors may and should join:
• Government Relations Committee: As the representative of RIRA and the Roosevelt Island Community to the various Local, State and Federal representatives and agencies having jurisdiction over the Island, the GRC ensures the establishment of ongoing relations with local, state and federal government, and quasi-government officials.
• Housing Committee: Addressing the issues and concerns of Island residents regarding the management, living conditions, and rental policies of the residential buildings on the Island, it serves as the liaison for RIRA and the Roosevelt Island Community to various building committees and housing task forces.
• Island Services Committee: While supervising and reviewing the delivery of transportation, park and recreation, sanitation, postal and commercial services and common facilities, the Island Services Committee assists individuals and organizations who may experience problems obtaining Island services and looks to provide solutions on how current Island services can better serve the Roosevelt Island Community.
• Planning Committee: Tasked with all matters involving future development of the Island, including but not limited to commercial development, housing, vehicular access, transportation, social service and energy, the Planning Committee monitors and recommends positions on planning matters, and recommends and implements policies relating to energy, conservation, distribution and generation.
• Public Safety Committee: Charged with recommending and implementing RIRA and Community positions on all matters related to safety, security, vehicular traffic and parking on the Island, the Public Safety Committee looks to work together with the Public Safety Department and New York Police Department Local Precinct 114 on behalf of the Community to address the concerns of law enforcement by Island residents.
• Social, Cultural and Education Services Committee: Looking to create social, cultural and educational programs and events promoting and improving community bonds on the Island, the primary task of SC&E, Social, Cultural and Educational Services Committee, is to develop initiatives and programming which bind and strengthen the fabric of the Island Community.
• Communications Committee: The hub for community publishing and educating the Island community of RIRA initiatives and community events, the Communications Committee looks to find and develop better means of increasing the visibility of the Island community and build better systems for information and event sharing among the Island’s community groups.
• Legal Action Committee: Responsible for advising the Common Council and RIRA-at-large as to the viability of legal action as a means for solution and recourse.
Contacting Your RIRA Delegate
Lastly, we would be remiss if the Common Council did not offer to each of you a full-hearted Happy Thanksgiving from our families to yours. As we all take this time to look back and reflect on the blessings of this past year while enjoying food and family, please also take the time to remember those in our community who are less fortunate and in need. In a city and community of bounty and excess, it can still amaze how many continue to be underserved. Whether it be through a donation to a local food pantry to handing out food at New York City’s overburdened shelters, do find a way to help all have a Happy Thanksgiving.