Volume 20, Number 29 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | Nov. 30 - Dec. 6, 2007

"Support businesses and organizations that support Downtown Express" WILLIAM BARTHMAN JEWELERS

C.B. 1 faces steep budget cuts

Proposed budget cuts to the city’s community boards could mean losses of $15,000 at Community Board 1 and the possible reduction or elimination of staff wages over the next two years, the district manager reported last week.

Noah Pfefferblit, C.B. 1’s district manager, said the city’s Office of Management and Budget sent the board a letter announcing an expected decline in city revenue due to “a downturn in the economy.” O.M.B. then requested from the board a proposal on how it could possibly reduce its budget to accommodate cuts of 2.5 percent in Fiscal Year 2008 and 5 percent in F.Y. 2009.

In his reply, read before the full board last Tuesday, Pfefferblit said the first round of cuts — or about $5,000 in ’08 — would require the board to spend its entire city budget on personnel costs, forcing it to dip into street-fair funds for all other budgetary items. The second round of cuts — or about $10,000 in ’09 — would exceed the board’s total city budget, requiring either a layoff or pay cuts.

“I indicated in my letter [to O.M.B.] that I was not able to identify a way to make this reduction in a way that would enable C.B. 1 to carry out our responsibilities as mandated by the city charter,” Pfefferblit said, “and I explained that the budget that we receive from the city is already minimal in terms of the responsibilities we carry, and that the redevelopment projects that are under way in Lower Manhattan and plan to continue for many years to come would place an even greater strain on our limited staff and resources.”

He also said the cuts appeared in contrast to the administration’s emphasis on quality of life and delivery of services, as the board’s partnership with city agencies “can greatly increase the effects of city spending.”

Borough President Scott Stringer’s office organized a meeting of all Manhattan district managers to discuss the cuts, Pfefferblit noted, which helped inform the board’s response to O.M.B.

— Patrick Hedlund

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