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Community Boards

Brewer to Mayor, Council: Boost Community Board Budgets

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer called on Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council to raise Community Board operating budgets to $400,000 (excluding rent), an average increase of roughly $167,000.

“The people who really know New York City government know how important Community Boards are. Whether they are pushing neighborhood priorities with city agencies like Sanitation or the Police Department, or they’re vetting and negotiating major land use deals, the Community Boards are our neighborhoods’ first, best advocates,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Community Boards make our enormous city government work for our local neighborhoods, but they can’t do that without resources to keep pace with their increasing responsibilities.”

Brewer pointed to the flurry of major land use proposals as factors in the boards’ increased need for resources, as well as the boards’ increased need to use new technologies in their work. These include Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and other specialized software used in land use and planning, as well as the Open Meetings Law’s mandate that government bodies videorecord and livestream public meetings, which requires new equipment, training, staff, and technical assistance.

The roughly $9.9 million required to increase Community Board funding to Brewer’s recommended levels is minuscule against the backdrop of the city’s $82 billion operating budget, but it would revolutionize local Community Boards’ capacity to work on behalf of their neighborhoods.

Brewer called for the funding increase in her testimony earlier this week at a New York City Council Finance Committee hearing on Mayor de Blasio’s proposed Executive Budget.

Background
Testimony of Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer before the New York City Council Committeeon Finance, May 24, 2016. (See pp. 1-2 for remarks on Community Board funding.)

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