As part of their renewed push for Staten Island secession, Republican Council Members Joe Borelli and Steven Matteo will introduce a bill to the City Council Tuesday to establish a secession task force. As the Staten Island Advance first reported, the task force would have 18 months to gather data showing the “impact and viability” of the borough’s secession. While Matteo and Borelli say Island leaders and lawmakers—including Borough President James Oddo—have expressed support for the legislation, they are the only council members to support the bill so far.
“I am introducing this legislation to get the process started and take the first step toward a true, thorough, and open assessment that the people of Staten Island and New York City can use as a blueprint for making an informed decision on any future ballot proposals for Staten Island to become an independent city,” Borelli said. “With nearly 500,000 residents, Staten Island would be the second-largest city in New York, at about double the size of the third-largest, Buffalo.”
“We are on the short end of any net positives coming out of city hall like major infrastructure, transportation infrastructure, fast ferries, and subways, and we almost always represent a disproportionate share of generating revenue for New York City. Maybe it’s time that we make a serious effort to distance ourselves from city hall and to put Staten Island first.”
The task force would be comprised of the borough presidents of every borough, the chair of the city’s Planning Commission, the comptroller, the school’s chancellor, the commissioner of the Office of Emergency Management, the Staten Island borough commissioner for the Department of Transportation, and representatives from every community board on the Island.
In 1993, 65 percent of Staten Island residents voted to secede in a non-binding referendum, but the State Assembly didn’t vote on the results so the matter didn’t go further. The idea tends to crop up again every few years, most recently in 2016 by Borelli himself. Many questions about the feasibility of the secession of the “forgotten borough” remain and to go forward, any plan will require approval from both the city and state.
Mayor Bill de Blasio pretty much scoffed at the idea when it resurfaced last month and chalked it up to “political opportunism.”
“I don’t think anything is going to come of it in the end because I think we are one city and I think Staten Islanders are so deeply connected to the rest of the city in so many ways,” de Blasio said.
[Via Staten Island Advance]
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Neighborhoods : Staten Island