Community Board Five Response to the Mayor’s 2018 Preliminary Budget
Community Board Five is aware of the current fiscal challenges in our city. We are cognizant of revenues and expenses and are frequently in support of efforts to obtain increased funding to support those investments and expenses most vital to our City.
Several months ago, our Board submitted capital and expense budget priorities to your office for consideration in the FY 2018 Preliminary Budget. While agency responses certainly are not fully on board with our desired responses, we are thankful for serious consideration of many of our requests. As the New York City Charter-created institution with some of the keenest insight into local conditions, we look forward to working with the administration in fiscal prioritization.
Our district faces extreme above and below grade congestion, which creates health and safety problems for pedestrians, drivers and residents. At the same time, the city maintains programs and services most vital for our residents, particularly the elderly, homeless, and school-age children who work and spend time in our district. We believe that Manhattan Community District Five's success is critical to all New York City and we believe our budget priorities are suited to ensure that the needs of all within the community are addressed.
Department of Homeless Services
Homelessness continues to impact CB5 significantly; several program providers are in or near our district, and the tourist and commercial nature of our district means that CB5 is a frequent destination for the homeless. As the homeless population has increased over the last several years, the issue has become more prominent. Our research indicates that many homeless choose to remain on the streets rather than utilize the available resources that provide lodging, security, and most importantly, services to help address mental health and/or substance abuse issues, as well as employment services; that notable numbers of homeless prefer the unknowns of living on the street over accommodations speaks volumes. Anecdotally, we believe concerns about safety are paramount (i.e., many people feel safer on the street than in shelters) and general living conditions in shelters are unacceptable. Therefore, we encourage DHS to direct resources to address the issues we raised in our Budget requests including safety, quality of program, and program capacity. We thank the agency for the efforts it has made on security improvements, but we believe the financial resource allocation is inadequate. C1, E5, E8
Department Of Transportation
5/6 Avenue redesign, pedestrian plazas, street repair, street design
CB5 is a hub for street usage – pedestrian, vehicle, and public transit. We identified several specific intersections that have unusually high utilization and suffer from resolvable issues. We believe our suggested intersections are among the most critical to be addressed by DOT, and we encourage DOT to direct resources to evaluate our suggestions and relieve the congestion and safety issues that are far beyond remediation. Additionally, we acknowledge that street repair is an ongoing and as-needed priority for DOT, but we encourage you to direct resources toward the most utilized thoroughfares in NYC, and particularly those in our district. Finally, we encourage DOT to direct resources to continue development of and improvement to existing pedestrian plazas. C2, C5, C13, E3,
We are disappointed that the response to every request we made of the TA, whether capital or expense, was to call a general hotline number than is unattended. We believe all of our requests addressing subway infrastructure, cleanliness, accessibility and level of non-transit services is valid and merits considered evaluation, action, and resolution; at a minimum, a response that indicates you have at least read our request – even if you unquestionably disagree – is appropriate. C3, C10, C19, E14
Department of Education
We appreciate DOE's stance on school planning, and the development of elementary and middle schools based on seat need. We encourage prioritization of CB5, as the development of housing in our district is among the fastest in NYC, as is growth of families; further, we believe the legacy tools for assessing need penalize our district more than most, and we encourage DOE to recognize these shortcomings as it assesses projects. We are also appreciative of current funding for nutrition programs, but we are of the opinion that additional resources would yield additional tangible benefits. Finally, we recognize the challenges of providing appropriate support services in schools including social, health, etc., but we believe these efforts to be materially underfunded, and we encourage the DOE to provide resources to principals can adequately address the needs. C4, C6, C7, C8, E29, E35
Housing Preservation Department
We appreciate the efforts at HPD to develop and fund long-term supportive housing, especially with tight budgets. We also encourage HPD to devote additional resources to various enforcement issues. In our experience, code enforcement has large return on expenditure, and is very well received by constituents. C9, C15, E27
Department of Environment Protection
CB5 thanks you for your answers. Regarding air quality and fine particulate matter, CB5 ranked last among all NYC Community Boards, which we find alarming. See http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/data/2015chp-mn5.pdf, page 5 in the middle.
We realize that the commercial density and automobile usage in CB5 contributes to this reality, but we are relying on DEP to be aware of the issue, and to attempt to find alternatives to improve the condition.
Regarding storm sewers, we are willing to log 311 calls when we witness flooding, but as we understand it, this process is equally valid for informing city agencies of issues that are of note, particularly as the process enables us to be specific with locations requiring attention.
Regarding Green Energy Initiatives and low-sulfur fuels, as well as infrastructure that runs under the street (such as sewer mains, etc.), we would appreciate guidance as to whom we should raise these issues. C11, C16, E12, E26, E30
New York Police Department
We thank the NYPD for its responses. We support evaluating body cameras, and are encouraged by your progress to date. We believe precinct houses must be upgraded to enable officers to execute their duties, and we support efforts to bring them up to date. Regarding the assignment of uniformed officers for all positions, we believe CB5 suffers from some of the biggest needs, and we encourage allocating additional officers to our critical area of New York City. C12, CS, E2, E4
We will encourage our local elected officials to support installation of new fire alarms. Further, we are encouraged that the primary constraint on fire house upgrades is scheduling and prioritization; if, in fact, budget is primary factor impacting timing, please inform us and we can reiterate our request. We encourage FDNY to carefully consider staffing needs as it pertains to CB5; the influx of new buildings with high floor counts could create a need that is unique within CB5, and we want to ensure that FDNY is strongly considering these issues when making staffing decisions. Finally, we are encouraged the FDNY foundation supports fire prevention and life safety initiatives. C14, CS, E11, E17,
New York Public Library
We believe the library's initiatives are critical to NYC's status as a global cultural leader. As such, we would like to know how we can provide additional support to the NYPL regarding systems upgrades, hours, and other needs within the library system. C17, C18, E7,
Office of Management and Budget
Thank you for continuing to support Community Boards. We believe the needs of the Community Boards and the demands on the staff are increasing, and we would encourage a review to increase the budget to support this vital community endeavor.
Department of City Planning
We are willing to contact the DCP offices, however we believe our request that MIH areas be mapped is critical in developing appropriate planning in the future and we encourage DCP to undertake this project
Department of Sanitation
We are encouraged by the DSNY's efforts on behalf of the various needs in CB5. We encourage ongoing and additional support for recycling, refuse collection, green initiatives, as well as enforcement. E9, E13, E23, E24, E32, E33, E36
Department of Buildings
Thank you for your response. We find that DOB resources regarding code enforcement are strained and we encourage the redirection of resources to support enforcement efforts. We remain concerned that practices for which DOB has oversights may not be receiving the due attention, and we encourage additional enforcement to mitigate adverse outcomes. E10
Small Business Services
While we are encouraged by SBS's progress to date, we believe SBS's efforts are critical within CB5, which has among the largest commercial populations in NYC, and legal services and skills training programs are critical and we recommend additional resources be directed to these areas. E15, E25
Human Resource Administration
We thank HRA for ongoing support in these areas and encourage the Agency to direct additional resources to support the homeless populations and victims of domestic violence as it sees fit. E16, E38
Department of Youth and Community Development
We thank DYCD for ongoing support in these areas and encourage the Agency to direct additional resources to support afterschool programming and youth street outreach as it sees fit. E18, E20
Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
We thank DOHMH for ongoing support in these areas and encourage the Agency to direct additional resources to support HIV Prevention, programs to reduce substance abuse, and support homeless populations as it sees fit. E19, E22, E34
Administration of Children Services
We thank ACS for ongoing support in this area and encourage the Agency to direct additional resources to support treatment programs for juveniles with substance abuse issues as it sees fit. E21
Department of Parks and Recreation
Department for the Aging
Landmarks Preservation Commission
We are encouraged by LPCs additional staffing and we look forward to enhanced productivity from the Agency. E37, E39.
Community Board Five appreciates the opportunity to comment on the FY 2018 Preliminary Budget. We look forward to seeing the Executive Budget and are hopeful that we will continue to see community board input incorporated into the final product.