Apologies for the last-minute notice on this one, but tomorrow is a crucial public hearing about community board budgets. The following info comes from Queens CB 3. Please distribute widely! …

…You are invited to attend a press conference on Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 11:15 am on the steps of City Hall regarding the proposed reduction of Community Boards’ budgets. Following the press conference, you are invited to attend City Council’s Public Hearing at 11:45am. Representatives from all 59 Community Boards along with elected officials and community groups will be in attendance.

As you may be aware, the City’s administration, in its FY 2009 Executive Budget, has proposed to reduce each community board’s budget by $16,000. The reduction of Community Boards’ budgets would realize a total “savings” to our $61 billion City budget of approximately $944,000. This equates to a 0.0015%“savings” This cut would not provide a substantial savings to the City. Community Boards have smaller budgets than other city agencies. In fact, the proposed reductions will irreparably harm the boards and adversely impact the manner in which community boards carry out their charter-mandated duties.

CB’s have never had a budget increase to keep pace with the increasing cost of doing business. Postage, supplies, equipment and other expenses have increased and we have never received corresponding cost of living adjustments to compensate. The only increases CB’s have received are salary increases that result from Collective Bargaining. Community Boards have not seen an increase in their budgets since 1986.Had our budgets been adjusted over time our budget would have roughly been$275,000-$300,000.

Community Boards are the voice the of the community and the first level of City government. We are the intermediary between the City’s numerous agencies and the local community. We help our residents to navigate through the complex complaint process, capital projects and land use issues. We are the advocates for the community and are the first line of defense in addressing local concerns and managing issues affecting the quality of life of our residents.

We need your help. We ask that you come out and join us in fighting for the restoration and increase of Community Board budgets.