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Dear neighbor,

This month, the City Council begins its hearings on the Mayor’s Preliminary Budget proposal. Later in March, voting in our district’s participatory budget process begins. By April, a new budget for New York State is due.

That’s right, budget season is here, and it’s already heating up.

The budget I promise to fight for would fully fund our schools, make significant investments in deeply affordable housing and promote real public safety by ensuring that our young people have jobs and opportunities, that our elders are supported and that all New Yorkers have the resources they need to thrive in our City.

The budget we got instead last year mandated cuts across the board to essential services New Yorkers depend on. For those interested, you can read more updates on the City and State budgets below.

Our month began with a very successful Red Hook job fair last Saturday that had more than 25 employers and resource tables. Just last week I met with District 75 stakeholders, rallied to support universal childcare in New York City and urged the state to pass the New York Public Banking Act, and next Saturday, our office will host a Women’s History Month celebration complete with an all-female mariachi band, food and more.

Don’t miss important updates on the City’s new trash setout times, beginning April 1, and water bill amnesty available through April 30 either.

After this month, our next e-newsletter won’t come until July as we enter the 90-day period before an election. We will continue to post regular updates to our social media, and please call our office at 718-439-9012 with any questions.

Yours in solidarity,




Alexa Avilés

Council Member

Community acknowledgements

March is Womxn’s History Month, and March 8 is International Womxn’s Day, with its origins in the movement of striking garment workers and the Socialist Party of America. Working womxn of the world, unite! Thank you for all you do, big and small, we appreciate you! Join the Womxn of the Council and PowHerNY for the 17th Annual NY Equal Pay Day on March 14 at City Hall from 1:30 - 2:30pm when we will rally for the NYS Budget to include Child care, Fair Pay for Home Care workers, and increasing the minimum wage. 

The evening of March 6 marks the beginning of Purim, the Jewish holiday commemorating the Jewish people’s deliverance from persecution and death under the Persians. It’s a story of perseverance and a celebratory holiday with a female hero, Esther! I wish all our Jewish neighbors a safe, joyful Purim.

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins March 23. To all our neighbors observing, I wish you peace and many blessings this Ramadan. 

March 31 is Transgender Day of Visibility. In the face of anti-trans laws, harassment and violence, I stand with our trans siblings. We will fight for a loving and compassionate society that welcomes our full authentic selves.


We have NEW office hours to accommodate different schedules:


And our upcoming office hours in Red Hook and on Eighth Avenue are as follows:














New bill passed!

On March 2, Council passed a first package of legislation to begin to address the fire risks posed by battery-powered devices, including one of my bills.

My bill, Intro 749-A mandates that employers send fire safety information directly to workers in their languages.

Our work isn't done yet. I will be pushing hard for this Council to develop legislation to swap out risky batteries and ensure their safe disposal.

The majority of batteries are imported. The federal government must regulate the growing market for battery-powered devices.




Saturday, March 11, 12pm–2pm, Citywide — YMCA hiring fair

Stop by any YMCA branch in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx or Staten Island for the YMCA’s citywide hiring fair day and bring a resume.

Open positions include fitness and sports instructors, lifeguards and swim instructors, summer camp counselors, early childhood teachers, fitness center staff and customer service.

And did you know? Lifeguard candidates are eligible for paid training.

More info at



Monday, March 13, 6:00pm, Virtual — District 20 Community Education Council

Meet the candidates running for District 20 Community Education Council. 

To receive the Zoom link, view the forum schedule, and register, visit 

Vote for Your Candidates from April 21 to May 9! Learn more about Education Councils and Election 2023 at:


Tuesday, March 14, 6:30pm, 110 W 9 St — DOT Red Hook Study Public Meeting

The public kickoff event for Red Hook's long-awaited traffic and truck study is finally here!

Join NYC DOT at the Miccio Center Tuesday, March 14 for a presentation and discussion around the planned traffic and truck study and its scope of work.



Saturday, March 18, 10am–1pm, Cough Triangle — Transportation Alternatives BQE South walkthrough

Walk the BQE corridor, starting at Cough Triangle near the Smith and 9 Street subway stop on Saturday, March 18 at 10:00am to share your ideas for the future of the BQE and hear from neighbors and experts on what they think that future could look like. 

RSVP via



Saturday, March 18, 12pm, MS 136 — Women’s History Month Celebration 

Celebrate Women’s History Month with us at MS 136. We’re excited to share food, fun activities, musical performances including an all-female mariachi band, and more!

RSVP to let us know you'll be joining:


Tuesday, March 21, 2023, 6:30pm–8:30pm, P.S. 24 — DOT BQE South in-person workshop

This NYC DOT-hosted workshop will focus on revisioning the BQE South corridor stretching from Atlantic Avenue to the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge.

This meeting will take place in-person at 427 38th St, Brooklyn, NY 11232.


Sat, March 25th–April 2, District-wide — Participatory budget Vote Week

Vote week for our district’s participatory budget projects is coming up soon! 

Keep an eye out this month for updates on this year’s projects.

We will have voting sites all across the district from Saturday, March 25 to April 2, and we need volunteers to help with tabling on the weekend dates during vote week in Sunset Park, Red Hook and Eighth Avenue. 

Sign up for a volunteer shift during vote week here!



Monday, March 27, 6:00pm, Virtual — District 15 Community Education Council Candidate Forum

Meet the candidates running for District 15 Community Education Council.

To receive the Zoom link, view the forum schedule, and register, visit: 

Vote for Your Candidates from April 21 to May 9! Learn more about Education Councils and Election 2023 at:


Thursday, March 30, 2023, 6:30pm–8:30pm, online — NYC DOT BQE South virtual workshop

This NYC DOT-hosted workshop will focus on revisioning the BQE South corridor stretching from Atlantic Avenue to the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge.

This meeting will take place online. Please register in advance:


District bulletin


About that unannounced BQE meeting…

My team and I tuned into last Friday’s unannounced, invite-only meeting on the BQE.

We heard some electeds repeat talking points insisting that their comfort is more important than the health and well-being of our neighbors.

What we heard did not inspire confidence in this administration's commitment to hearing from residents when a select group of elected officials who do NOT represent the BQE corridor were given the special privilege of a meeting with City Hall.

We expect DOT to issue a public report of the feedback they receive and how they arrive at decisions during this process — and we need you to make your voices heard even more now that City Hall is putting its thumb on the scale.

Attend an event hosted by DOT or a community partner here.


New DSNY trash set-out times

This is NO JOKE! New rules for setting out trash, recycling, and curbside composting go into effect on April 1, 2023. This change was proposed to help mitigate the city’s rat problem. 

Residential buildings have three options (one of which requires an opt-in by buildings in the month of January):

Place trash out after 6:00 PM in a container with a secure lid.
Place trash out after 8:00 PM if putting bags directly on the curb.
If a building has nine or more residential units, the property owner may opt into a 4:00 – 7:00 AM set-out window instead.



Water bill amnesty program

The NYC Department of Environmental Protection is currently running a limited water bill Amnesty Program.

Any accrued interest can be reduced or forgiven if the principal of your building's water bill is paid by April 30, 2023.

For more information visit Additional info can be quickly found by calling during DEP’s extended business hours Monday through Friday (8am to 7pm) and Saturday (9am to 2pm) at (718) 595-7000 or email DEP at


Protect yourself and family from identity theft

Is someone using your personal information to open accounts, file taxes, or make purchases? Visit, the federal government’s one-stop resource to help you report and recover from identity theft.


Young people ages 14-24, apply for the Summer Youth Employment by March 31!

The Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) provides NYC youth between the ages of 14 and 24 with paid summer employment and educational opportunities. 

SYEP runs for six weeks during summer, and participants are paid the minimum wage or a stipend. The program also includes workshops, trainings, and other educational opportunities to help youth develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the workforce.

Don't miss your chance to apply by March 31! Visit



NYCHA Hearing on Air Quality

Indoor and outdoor air quality impact NYCHA residents both due to building conditions like mold and pests, but also due to other environmental factors like dust, traffic exhaust and pollution. These factors contribute to greater rates of asthma and cardiopulmonary disease among public housing residents.

NYCHA’s indoor air quality oversight team includes only 6 staff for 326 NYCHA developments and half a million residents.

We also heard my bill Resolution 190, calling on the City and State to work together to provide their share of the additional three billion dollars annually needed to meet NYCHA’s capital needs. That bill now has 19 co-sponsors.


Free tax prep services
We offer free tax services at our office, 4417 4 Ave on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays in partnership with Grow Brooklyn. Call 347-502-6804 or visit for an appointment. 

The Red Hook Justice Center offers free tax prep services at 72 Visitation Place. Call 718-923-8250 for an appointment.



Free portrait project

Artist Rusty Zimmerman is exhibiting the first 20 of 200 portraits & oral histories of South Brooklyn residents through March at Cafe Nube, 940 4 Ave.

Are you South Brooklyn? Apply to be the subject of one of 200 free portraits. Add your face and your story to this picture of South Brooklyn in 2023.



Free GED classes with NYU Langone Family Health Centers

 Classes, tutoring, counseling, and workshops help participants successfully complete the HSE exam and prepare for college and a career. For more information, please call 718-768-0778.



Free English classes for beginners in Sunset Park

Know someone who wants to learn English in Sunset Park? Free beginner classes are available through BCS. For more info, call 718-360-8186.



FREE Mental health care for seniors

For more information, call 644-333-3579 ext 714.




New York City budget season is here

The Mayor introduced his first proposal for the City budget in late January. This month, the City Council will begin holding hearings on how the preliminary budget would impact services and operations at each City agency. You can find the full list of upcoming hearings here, and you can sign up to testify at an upcoming hearing here.

On Monday, March 13, I will chair a hearing of the Public Housing Committee on how the Mayor's budget impacts NYCHA. 

Over the next month, we’ll have more to share about the Mayor’s budget proposal, how New York City’s funding is impacted by the State’s budget, which is due early April, and participatory budget proposals for this year’s cycle. Stay tuned!


Proposed cuts in the Mayor’s preliminary budget

After last year’s budget implemented cuts across the board to public schools and essential services New Yorkers depend on, we will be closely scrutinizing this year’s proposals and sounding the alarm where cuts could impact our communities. All this, despite the fact that New York City will close the year out with a budget surplus

Some of the largest cuts in the preliminary budget would go toward our social services agency, DSS, which is on the front lines responding to New Yorkers in crisis and to the arrival of asylum seekers, the Department of Education and CUNY. In addition, the budget includes significant cuts toward our library system, which would negatively impact services from resume-writing to scaling down hours and weekend service.


Meanwhile, as City agencies from the Department of Education to Department of Social Services and even FDNY face staff shortages, to find savings, the administration is cutting funds allocated to positions that have been sitting vacant. Those funds could be reallocated to improve recruitment and retention at agencies if they are put toward wage raises and benefits, but that is not a given.


I am ready to fight these cuts and stand up for working class people and our priorities. We cannot be trapped in a scarcity mentality or blame asylum seekers for cuts to essential services. When the Council is projecting a larger than expected budget surplus, these cuts are a clear political choice. 


State budget recap

The New York State budget is due early April, and how the State allocates funds could have serious impacts on our communities as well.

This year’s school aid and Foundation Aid to New York City represents an increase over last year. However, the Governor is also moving to increase the number of charter schools in New York City, a move that I oppose because charter schools eat into the budget for our public schools. 

Further, the Governor’s initial budget proposal allows for tuition increases at SUNY at CUNY, among our most treasured public institutions.

The state budget includes no additional funding for NYCHA, and that is for shame. I introduced a Council resolution calling on both the City and State to increase their support for NYCHA.

Only public housing tenants were excluded from the State's Emergency Rental Assistance Program, and I urge the state to make NYCHA tenants behind on their rent whole.

Those are just a few of the more problematic highlights from the State budget, but fortunately there is a package of proposals to raise revenue so we can fix the MTA, stop the tuition increases at CUNY and support our public schools. You have the power to advocate that our Assembly and Senate representatives fight to Tax the Rich and fund our future.