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Budget, Education & City Services

Community Boards request for reconsideration of their operating budget

WHEREAS, Community Boards plays an important advisory role in dealing with land use, zoning, transportation, the city budget, the licensing of establishments, the delivery of city services and many other issues involving the welfare of the community; and

WHEREAS, In 1951, the Manhattan Borough President established twelve "Community Planning Councils" to advise on planning and budgetary matters; and

WHEREAS, The 1963 City Charter extended this neighborhood governance concept to the other boroughs and called them "Community Planning Boards"

WHEREAS, The adoption of the 1975 City Charter gave the City's Community Boards a formal role in decisions on land use, in the preparation of the capital and expense budgets and in monitoring of local service delivery; and

WHEREAS, In 1989, voters of New York City ratified new Charter provisions expanding or reaffirming the important role of Community Boards; and

WHEREAS, The New York City Charter §2800(d) sets forth the twenty-one (21) categories of responsibilities for Community Boards; and

WHEREAS, Each community board is funded by NYC with the same basic budget appropriation for personnel and other than personnel services, excluding rent and energy; and

WHEREAS, Other than for union-mandated raises, there has been virtually no increase in this basic funding appropriation for community boards for the last quarter century, while most other city agencies have seen their budgets grow as inflation and other circumstances warranted; and

WHEREAS, The community board budget has actually shrunk in this time period once inflation is taken into account; and

WHEREAS, The role of the community board was originally conceived of as a planning board, wherein each local board could actively create land use plans for their districts, but the current budget for community board staff prohibits the hiring of planners who could assist the board in these efforts; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five is mandated by the charter to:

Disseminate information about city services and programs, process complaints, requests and inquiries of the residents of the district; and conduct substantial public outreach; and

WHEREAS, Without ample funding for both personnel and equipment, the tasks required of community boards - including the attraction and keeping of qualified employees, the acquiring and dissemination of information, the upkeep of records, and public outreach, etc. - become increasingly difficult; therefore be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five supports the funding of community boards at a level commensurate with their responsibilities as originally conceived.

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