Monday, April 29, 2013

Budget shortfall endangers neighborhood grant programs

Following a final proposal review scheduled for June, the City will move administration of the Neighborhood Support Program (NSP) and Neighborhood Business District Support Fund (NBDSF) in-house to the Department of Community Development.

In an April 9 letter to the City’s community councils, Dohoney said that the change was made due a change in the fiscal year from a July to June cycle and uncertainty in the City's general fund budget, estimated to be $35 million in the red.

That uncertainty could lead to either or both programs being cut for fiscal year 2014. Community councils rely on the grants, typically less than $5,000 per year, to fund neighborhood projects such as streetscapes, beautification, safety initiatives, and marketing.

"While I do not know the outcome of pending litigation that affects the City's General Fund Budget, we should all presume there will be no additional funding for the NSP or the NBDSF after July 1, 2013," Dohoney said.

On April 8, City Manager Milton Dohoney, Jr. met with Invest In Neighborhoods to inform them that the City will no longer contract with them to administer the NSP and NBDSF funds and that the organization should close out its 2013 funding year.

Review sessions for remaining project proposals are scheduled for May 9 and June 6. Any additional funds disbursed must be expended and accounted for by September 30.

"While the news may not be positive, I want you to know that your individual and collective efforts to build a great community are invaluable," he said. "Unfortunately, the continued constraints on our General Fund dictate the tough decisions the City is making across government operations."

Previous reading on BC:
Program set for 2013 Neighborhood Summit (1/25/13)
Motion: Changes require board to evaluate NSP, NBD programs (5/29/12)
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)