BUDGET ADVOCATES-The odds have always been stacked against Neighborhood Councils. Always.
With 99 NCs, or better put, 99 unique agendas, the only guarantee is that City Hall will accomplish its agenda. If you view our government and the bureaucracy as the immovable object, what else can we do but become the unstoppable force? The goal should be strategic organization, at key times throughout the year.
So, when does it begin? At Budget Day, this Saturday, June 29. This is your opportunity to start telling the people you elected where and how you want your $4.9 billion tax dollars to be spent – before our next fiscal year begins.
This is the one day where we unite our 99 NCs with non-profits, business leaders, community activists, city employees and elected officials to discuss the foundation of our City’s operations, the Budget. Every meeting you spend your free time attending, discussing what needs to be changed and what can be improved, means nothing without understanding how it will be funded and what you can do to ensure it happens.
Who hosts this event? The Neighborhood Council Budget Advocates (BAs), comprised of Neighborhood Council members appointed by Neighborhood Councils as Budget Representatives (2 appointees per NC) who are then elected to serve as your voice in the City’s budgeting process. By meeting with the leadership in our City Departments and the employees that make them function, the BAs gain invaluable insight into what changes are necessary to improve efficiency and deliver better services.
But it doesn’t stop there. Working with Departments and our Elected Officials is a fraction of the job. Getting feedback directly from the communities is where the bulk of the efforts need to be spent. By sharing your thoughts, concerns and suggestions about solutions, the BAs can ensure we align our priorities with those of our stakeholders.
The format of Budget Day is designed to do just that. After hearing from a number of guest speakers, you’ll go to breakouts with stakeholders from your part of town to discuss your quality of life and what can be done to improve it. Current BAs and professional note takers will be present to guide the discussions and ensure every thought and idea is documented so they can be aggregated and prioritized.
The time for armchair activism is over. If you want to see things change in our City, make sure you join us at Budget Day and beyond to keep up the fight.
For questions on how to get involved, contact me directly at [email protected].
To register for the event, please visit our site.
(John DiGregorio is Vice Chair of Communications and Outreach Chair for the NC Budget Advocates. He is also Treasurer of the Panorama City Neighborhood Council. Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.