Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Motion: Changes require board to evaluate NSP, NBD programs

A report on a May 22 motion to create an advisory board to review and update guidelines related to the Neighborhood Support Program (NSP) and Neighborhood Business District Support Program (NBD) is due before City Council within the next three weeks.

Introduced by Councilmember P.G. Sittenfeld and signed by seven of the eight other councilmembers, the motion asks the City to look into the creation of an advisory board that would meet a minimum of once every four years. Appointments would be made by the City Manager and would include one member of City administration, one member of City Council, one community council president, one representative from Cincinnati Neighborhood Business Districts United, and the executive director or a member of the board of trustees of Invest In Neighborhoods.

A statement accompanying the motion suggests that changes in technologies and the costs of services require a mechanism for regular reevaluation of the programs.

"The driving philosophy of the NSP and NBD programs is that neighborhoods know what their priorities are and how to best invest in them," the statement said. "Working with outdated and restrictive guidelines impedes their ability to fully recognize and implement their priorities."

For example, guidelines allow neighborhoods to spend $3,000 on communication projects annually, but do not specify websites or smart phones as allowable expenses.

"They thus become subjected to unneeded scrutiny, and some neighborhoods have even felt these items outside the bounds of what they are allowed to invest in," the statement said. "We are due to update these guidelines to match our modern world, lessen confusion among neighborhoods, and empower them to strengthen their communities."

Previous reading on BC:
Application period open for NBD grant program (4/11/12)
Funding identified for three City projects (2/14/11)
Three community councils reimbursed for NSP activities (7/7/10)
Communities' NSP experiences under City direction vary wildly (5/25/10)
Northside funding request would eliminate South Block blight (11/4/09)