High on Community Board 18’s list of items it wants the city to address in next fiscal year’s budget is something close to its heart — its own existence.
On the expense side of its annual Statement of Needs and Priorities, the board’s top priority is to increase the community board’s budget, restoring cuts that could hasten its extinction.
“Community boards serve a vital function,” Chair Saul Needle said at the board’s Oct. 21 meeting. “By slowly withdrawing our funds, you get to the point where we won’t be able to operate. “We speak out as the voice of the community,” Needle said.
Needle said that citywide, community boards, which act as intermediaries between the public and government agencies,have endured cuts of five percent and potentially another 2.5 percent to their already meager budgets.
The board, which encompasses Canarsie, Mill Basin, Bergen Beach, Marine Park, Flatlands, Mill Island and Georgetown, had a budget this fiscal year of $189,895. Next fiscal year’s budget is slated to be $169,709, according to Dorothy Turano, the board’s district manger. Other than paying the salaries of its two paid employees, the money pays for mailings and office supplies.
The statement of needs details a range of issues — traffic, environmental concerns, public safety, and city planning, for example — within the neighborhoods served by the board. Other expense items include a ladder truck for Engine Company 323, as well as a request for five men manning thefire station at all times.
Top capital items include Strickland Avenue from National Drive to Mill Avenue; Preston Court; East 108th Street from Seaview Avenue to Flatlands Avenue; and the reconstruction of the so-called Fraser grid streets, the railroad tracks to Kings Highway, from Flatbush Avenue to Nostrand Avenue.
Other capital items include a request for a new site for the 63rd Precinct, currently located at 1844 Brooklyn Avenue, and safety fences on the south side of Avenue U adjacent to Kings Plaza, from Flatbush Avenue to East 55th Street and on Flatbush between Avenues U and V.
Other expense items include a ladder truck for Engine Company 323, as well as a request for five men manning the fire station at all times.
City agencies and the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget will review the items to evaluate the relative importance of each project. The city is expected to respond to the items next year.