He started attending monthly meetings because they seemed like the place where local issues were always discussed.
“I thought, ‘this was an organization I wanted to be a part of,’” he said.
Born and raised in New York City, Budabin, an alumnus of Hunter College High School, served in the Marine Corps before becoming an attorney. Along with his wife and two children, he has lived in Bayside since 2008.
He was elected chair of Community Board 11 in early March, and his term began in April. In between, the pandemic struck, forcing the city to go on lockdown.
The CB11 office physically closed, but the staff has been working remotely during the same hours. The board is still holding monthly meetings on Zoom, continuing with regular committee meetings virtually.
“I think we’re maintaining our level of service,” Budabin said. “People have been doing everything they can to make sure that’s the case.”
According to the new CB11 chair, one of the biggest issues facing northeast Queens is traffic safety and availability. The area has large thoroughfares with a lot of traffic, but limited public transportation.
Another is economic development. Budabin noted the area has high commercial vacancy rates, and that the community should encourage commerce in responsible ways. On the flip side, Budabin said they want the “right amount” of development.
“It’s that combination that makes the community feel special and a great place to live,” he said.
Budabin said he wants to be as open-minded as possible. His goal is to increase community involvement and interaction with the community board and CB11’s profile.
“We want to be a primary source for people to engage with government,” he said, “to be a primary conduit for people to have their voices heard.”