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Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council Approves Budget

The coming year's budget will be based on feedback from survey distributed to stakeholders.

The (ASNC) approved their budget for the 2011/2012 fiscal year on Monday evening, as well as a plan to track expenditures by neighborhood throughout the year.

This year's $40,500 budget, as with the previous two, will be primarily driven by feedback from a survey distributed to ASNC stakeholders, which asked them to prioritize nine community project types. 

The council's $26,450 community impact projects budget will be distributed between environment & beautification, culture & arts, public safety, education, festivals, recreation, animal welfare, health and other, based on community preferences.

The breakdown, as presented in the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council's proposed 2011/2012 budget, is as follows:

Environment & Beautification 21% $5,528 Public Safety 18% $4,739 Education 15% $3,949 Festivals 13% $3,422 Recreation 10% $2,633 Animal Welfare 8% $2,106 Health 7% $1,843 Culture & Arts 7% $1,843 Other 1% 263

Of the budget's remaining $14,050, $3,250 will go toward operations, which include facilities rental and office supplies, among other expenses. The $10,800 balance will be spent on outreach, which include election and advertising costs, among other costs.

Tracking Expenses

Tuesday evening's budget talks also featured a debate over a recommendation by new council treasurer Judy Knapton, that the board divide their community impact project allocation between the five communities that the ASNC represents.

Knapton argued that the $26,450 allocation should be more evenly distributed between the five communities represented by ASNC, which include Hermon, Sycamore Grove, Mount Washington, Monterey Hills and Montecito Heights.

Knapton said that the $26,450 could be split into six shares, with the largest neighborhood, Mount Washington, to receive two shares, and every other community to receive one.

"The current budget survey is not scientific," Knapton added. "Community members were asked to pick their priorities from a pre-determined list."

However, council member Joseph Riser pointed out that the ASNC's budget methods were recognized as "best practice" by the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, and should not be changed at the commencement of the 2011/2012 fiscal year.

"We just don't know how to do [Knapton's plan] yet," Riser said.

Council member Liz Herron pointed out that while some communities, like Sycamore Grove, typically less receive funding that others, it's rare for funding requests to be rejected.

Some communities, she said, simply don't ask for funds as often as others.

Council member Jerry Schneider proposed the compromise, which was eventually approved, that the board retain their current community impact project allocation process, and more closely track and report expenditures by neighborhood.

"Why don't we stick with what we have right now, and as the budget gets tighter toward the end of the year, we can adopt some of Judy's ideas," he said.

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