As the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (DBP) faces a major hit in funding, they are finding an ally in Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.
Yet others in the city council’s Brooklyn delegation feel taxpayer money would be better spent on keeping firehouses open and saving schools from the budget axe rather than giving more money to the DBP.
The issue is coming to light amid news that the DBP is not slated to receive any more funding in Mayor Bloomberg’s preliminary Fiscal Year 2011 budget.
All agree, though, in the importance of the DBP mission of marketing the Downtown Brooklyn area as a 24/7 work, play and residential hub is crucial to the borough’s future economic growth and vitality.
The DBP was created in the late summer of 2006 with a $2 million three-year contract with the City Department of Small Business Services (SBS).
The DBP received $2,099,999 in year one of the contract, $1,919,000 in year two of the contact, $1,275,816 in year three of the contract and $789,806 last year’s fiscal budget.
The DBP’s revenue since its inception has come mainly from this city contract along with money obtained from managing the BAM Cultural Center and fees from business, cultural and academic institutions.
Markowitz indicated the city should continue to help defray the cost of running the DBP.
“I applaud Downtown Brooklyn Partnership’s work, and it is absolutely critical that the City continue to support our vibrant downtown — New York City’s third largest business district — and emphasize economic development here as new hotels, Class A office space, residential developments and retail businesses come on line,” said Markowitz.
But City Council member Lew Fidler feels that DBP salaries are too high, with several members getting fairly high six-figure salaries, including President Joe Chan, who makes $220,000.
“There are other ways of planning for and promoting downtown Brooklyn other than an organization funded with public money,” said Fidler. “There’s already a lot of big developers and BID (Business Improvement Districts) that can contribute.”
Prior to formation of the DBP, the marketing of the area was handled by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.
DBP spokesperson Shane Kavanagh said the organization remains committed to fulfilling its mission of leveraging private and public resources to enhance Downtown Brooklyn’s position as a thriving, thoughtfully planned and amenitized neighborhood.
“While the current economy offers a compelling case for operating with maximum efficiency, it was always planned for the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership to transition to diminished reliance on city funds,” he said.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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