URGENT: Your Help Needed to RESTORE the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s Budget to Preserve Our City
For the second year in a row, LANDMARK WEST! is working with a coalition of over 40 groups representing neighborhoods throughout the city to co-sponsor the Second Annual NYC Preservation Lobby Day on Wednesday, May 28, 2008. A press conference will take place on the steps of City Hall at 2:00 PM. Please join us! Voters make a difference.
Together, we're urging the City Council to RESTORE $300,000 in funding to the Landmarks Preservation Commission's 2008-2009 budget! This year, your participation is more important than ever. In 2006, the City Council, led by Council Members Jessica Lappin, Tony Avella and Diana Reyna, allocated $250,000 in additional funds to the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s budget, allowing the agency to hire five new full-time staff researchers to aid in their designation efforts. Last year that amount was increased to $300,000, which allowed the LPC to designate more than 1,000 buildings in 2007, a 2,000% increase in buildings since FY2005. Still, despite the amount of much-needed work that these grants have allowed, Mayor Bloomberg has declined to baseline this amount and it has not been included in the Commission’s FY09 budget.
Unless we band together in unified support of a well-funded, open, efficient, effective Landmarks Commission, the agency's staff and resources will shrink significantly -- at a time when its workload is higher than ever and the Department of Buidings is issuing record numbers of demolition permits!
WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY!
1) Call, write, email and/or fax your local council member stating your support for RESTORING $300,000 to the Landmarks Commission's budget. For contact information, go to http://council.nyc.gov/html/members/members.shtml. A sample letter is attached.
2) Send copies of your letters/emails to Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Landmarks Subcommittee Chair Jessica Lappin (contact information on website above). In addition, please send copies to email@example.com or 212-875-0209 (fax).
3) Invite council members, neighbors and colleagues to join you at the press conference. May 28, 2:00 PM, on the steps of City Hall.
4) Add your group's name to the coalition supporting the RESTORATION! Send emails to our colleagues at the Historic Districts Council, the citywide advocate for New York's historic neighborhoods - firstname.lastname@example.org.
SEE YOU ON THE STEPS!
Here's more information on why the Landmarks Commission needs your help (from the Citizens Emergency Committee to Preserve Preservation, www.savelpc.org)
1) The Landmarks Preservation Commission is one of the smallest city agencies in New York, yet its workload is impressively large and growing every day. Their staff and budget have become dangerously small.
2) The Commission’s budget has shrunk by 35% since 1990, in constant dollars.
3) The Commission’s share of the city budget has shrunk by 52% since 1990. It now occupies just .007% of the entire city budget.
4) The Commission’s staff has decreased by 25% since 1990. Over this same time period, the number of applications to repair or modify landmarks (which the Commission regulates) has more than doubled, to 9,000 per year.
5) The Commission has just 52 staff members who watch over more than 23,000 landmarks throughout the five boroughs; only 3 staff members are charged with enforcing the landmarks law.
6) Since 1990, the Commission has increased the revenue it generates for the city from just $10,000 per year to more than $1 million per year. It now raises nearly 1/3 of its agency budget, yet the city continues to deny the Commission the funding and staff it needs.