New York City will soon be known as the “four boroughs” if two Staten Island council members have their way.
Republicans Joe Borelli and Steven Matteo said Friday that they plan to introduce legislation in the coming weeks to create a task force to examine the feasibility of Staten Island seceding from the left-leaning Big Apple.
“If the city wants to continue going in a radical progressive direction, please just leave us behind!” Borelli told The Post. “The city is fighting a war on the cars we need to drive and loathe police officers — many [of whom] live here. Why wouldn’t Staten Island want to secede?”
The councilman also said he believes residents of the so-called “forgotten borough” will get behind the bill because they’re on the short end of the city’s “unfair” property tax system that favors neighborhoods where property values have gone through the roof — such as Park Slope in Brooklyn, where Mayor Bill de Blasio owns two homes.
Matteo said Staten Island “always had a different approach on how to govern” compared to the rest of the city. He said a task force study is needed to “fully understand the costs and consequences — both intended and unintended” — of breaking the island away from the rest of the city.
Staten Island previously tried to secede from the city two decades ago, with borough residents overwhelmingly passing a non-binding secession bill in 1993. However, that movement was killed in Albany when then-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) refused to vote on the matter without a “home rule message” from the City Council.
Staten Island would need state and city blessing for Borelli and Matteo’s pipe-dream plan to become reality.
With nearly 480,000 residents, Staten Island is the city’s least populated borough. However, on its own, Staten Island would rank second among the state’s municipalities in population size behind only the Big Apple.
A spokeswoman for Council Speaker Corey Johnson said the office won’t comment until it sees the bill.
However, de Blasio spokeswoman Freddi Goldstein said “there would be no New York City without Staten Island, and the mayor opposes secession.”
Borelli and Matteo’s plan was first reported by The Staten Island Advance.
From New York Post Media