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DLANC: Executive Committee and Budget and Finance

By Eric Richardson
Published: Wednesday, May 04, 2005, at 11:38AM

I attended two DLANC meetings last night: Executive Committee and Budget & Finance. These two committees are integral to the operation of the neighborhood council, those exactly how their role works was a topic of conversation. The topic of spending money was on the agenda all night, and the Executive Committee also brought the interesting items of attendance, when you remove board members, and special elections.

Executive Committee

The first thing in my notes was that committees need to have at least five members in order to pass anything on to the Board. This issue came up in the context of the items passed by the Public Health & Safety committee a few months ago. That committee only had two members. Both were there, but the bylaws do say that committees must have at least five members. Members were added to the committee, and now it just needs to meet again in order to re-pass the items that it wants approved.

Next they got into attendance. DLANC's board member with the seat of Area-Wide Resident has gone missing, it would appear. No one has talked to him or been able to contact him in months. He's missed several meetings more than the two consecutive / three cumulative that are allowed under the bylaws. The tendency of the board has been to be more lenient than the bylaws would suggest, but this looks to be a time where removal is called for.

That means it's about to be time for a special election. And this is an area-wide seat, so any resident in the DLANC boundaries is eligible to run. Ed Marzec and the Rules & Elections committee will be putting that together, and the bylaws state that should happen within thirty days of removal (which should technically happen next Tuesday at the full Board meeting).

As a more general consideration, the executive committee asked for a spreadsheet showing which board members had missed which meetings, just so that the information would be more readily available.

The housing committee came up for discussion. It hasn't met in a while, and the Exec committee wants to know why. They are putting the topic of the committee on the next Exec agenda, and inviting the two chairs to come and give their vision for the committee. At that point the scope and focus of the committee are on the table.

Budget & Finance Committee

Speaking of committees with only two members, that's what Budget & Finance had last night. They're a little different, though, since they are a Board Committee rather than a Standing Committee. I think that makes it ok for them.

DLANC has $56k in the bank right now, with a new fiscal cycle starting in July. That means it's time to spend some money. The Department of Neighborhood Empowerment automatically allows councils to spend $12.5k per quarter. Individual expenditures still need to be approved, but the level of funds is automatic. In order to catch up and spend some of our leftover money, we need to spend more than that. How much over that DONE will approve is up for question, however.

DONE recommends that 50% of councils' budgets be spent on operations and outreach, and the remaining 50% go to community projects. There are four categories of community project in our bylaws: public safety, neighborhood beautification, residential and economic development, and historic preservation. Budget & Finance decided that its internal decision making would put 35% of that 50% (17.5% of the overall budget) to public safety projects, and 21% or so to the other three categories.

Most budget requests were put off for a few weeks until the rest of the committees can get their funding requests in, but three were decided to be time-sensitive and sent on to the full Board. These were the special election funds, money for the bylaw-required annual meeting, and a funding request by the Town Crier Competition to be held in June.

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