Mayor to Host ‘Community Budget Day’

Two events will be hosted at City Hall where residents can network and solve problems with community members and City leaders.

By Paul Aranda Jr., EGP Staff Writer

The City of Los Angeles is opening its doors to the public with series of workshops and a budget presentation by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at City Hall on Oct 11. The Community Budget Day and Congress of Neighborhoods will both take place at City Hall. This year will be the first time that the two events will be held on the same day. The Citywide Congress of Neighborhoods Planning Committee voted to combine the two events during its first meeting back on Aug 11.

The mayor will introduce his budget priorities and provide in-depth information about the state of the City’s budget. The event is held to provide residents the opportunity to comment on the proposed fiscal year 2009-2010 budget. On Monday, the mayor announced an ambitious five-year affordable housing plan to construct 20,000 units at a cost of $5 billion. The plan is the first master housing plan that includes all five-city departments responsible for housing. The 20,000 units are designed for families with incomes between, less than $29,000 to $90,000 including 2,200 units for the chronically homeless.

The initiative will be financed over five years with $1 billion from existing city resources. The remaining $4 billion will come from low-income housing bonds, tax credit equity, grants and private sector loans. Enterprise Community Partners has already announced a $100 million trust and has committed $700 million for the initiative.

Last week, the City News Service reported the mayor said that he expects to face a $400 million deficit for the 2009-2010 year. The City’s revenues from sales, property and business taxes is expected to drop.
On the day of the event, attendees will be able to fill out a survey to express their budget priorities. For those who cannot attend the event, the survey will be available on the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) Web site at www.lacityneighborhoods.com no later than Oct 11. The open session with the mayor, open to the general public, will begin at 8 a.m. and run until 11 a.m. in the Council Chambers located on the third floor of City Hall. The mayor is scheduled to speak from 8:45 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

Immediately following the mayor’s presentation, the Congress of Neighborhoods is scheduled to begin. The Congress of Neighborhoods is a series of workshops scheduled throughout the day that provide residents with the details of how a neighborhood council (NC) should operate effectively to maximize city resources. Deanne Stevenson, a project manager with DONE, said the conference is a tool for all residents to come to City Hall and build important networks to improve their neighborhoods. The event will include numerous opportunities to build new alliances for any neighborhood organization she said. Session one, which starts at 9:45 a.m., will feature two workshops that will focus on neighborhood council elections and funding projects.

Session two, which runs from 11a.m. to 12:30 p.m. will feature a series of nine different workshops. During session three, scheduled from 1:00p.m. to 3:00p.m., seven of the nine workshops will repeat. Among the workshops, “NC Alliances Can Make a Real Difference in Your Community and Your Region,” and “Assuring NC Board Continuity and Long-Term Success” are both two-part workshops with part one scheduled for session two and part two scheduled for session three. Included among the workshops are open forums with city officials including forums with the City Council, DWP’s General Manager David Nahal and representatives of the City Attorney’s Office.

BongHwan Kim, general manager of DONE, stated in a press release that the combination of the two events would maximize resources and potentially increase attendance. The workshops will allow residents who are not already involved in neighborhood councils or community groups to gain an understanding on how community organizations operate to serve the needs of its residents.

Al Abrams, a member of the City’s Board of Neighborhood Commissioners, said, “It is critical that the people of Los Angeles have the opportunity to understand the way the City’s budget works. Knowledge of the City’s budget is the pathway to power in Los Angeles.”

This event is a great way for residents who are not involved with their neighborhood councils to learn and network with city officials said Kim. He added that his goal as general manager is to get more people involved with neighborhood councils. The neighborhood councils were set up to allow more people to have direct access to city government he said.

The two events include free parking, childcare and food.  To register online visit, www.lacityneighborhoods.com or call (213) 485-1360. City Hall is located at 200 N. Spring St, Los Angeles, Calif, 90012.

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October 2, 2008  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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