The Community Board 9 district manager is not taking Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed budget cuts lying down.
Mary Ann Carey wrote an open letter to her colleagues last week urging them to join her in attempting to save community boards budgets from being slashed, suggesting they have been silent on the issue.
“Hello!!! Is anyone out there!!!” the letter opened. “Come on now, you can’t all be dead!! I know some of you are still alive because I am.”
In a phone interview, Carey said the proposal to cut $15,000 from community board budgets on July 1 cannot be absorbed, noting that her board has already seen a $5,000 cut this fiscal year.
“If (Bloomberg) just cut $5,000, $10,000, maybe we could live with that, but not $20,000,” she said, referring to the fiscal 2008 and 2009 reductions. “The idea of it is just so totally ridiculous it blows my mind.”
If the cuts go through, Carey said she was not sure if she could keep a staff member that she recently hired.
In light of the economic downturn, Bloomberg is calling for across−the−board cuts at city agencies.
She referred to the mayor in her letter as “King Bloomberg” and “Millionaire Mike” in the missive and said cuts to community boards would have a drastic effect on their ability to operate.
“Our meager $199,000 is peanuts to our mayor,” she said, referring to the budget for CB 9, which covers Kew Gardens, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and Woodhaven.
Referring to the combined budgets of all community boards, Carey said, “our small budget is less than $12 million. The budget for the city of New York is $61 billion. That $12 million is less than 1 percent of our current budget. And Millionaire Mike does not think we are worth it.”
“Who knows your community better than the district managers and their staff — no one,” she wrote. “We must rally out community boards [and] our borough president and restore our budgets.”
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e−mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 173.
©2008 Community News Group
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