Scott M. Lawin: Letter on NID needs clarification | chelseanow.com

Scott M. Lawin: Letter on NID needs clarification

Letter on NID needs clarification

To The Editor:
Re “NID is flawed, abuses law” (letter, by Nicole Vianna, April 17):

I am an owner of a co-op in the proposed neighborhood improvement district (NID) for Hudson River Park and also serve proudly as co-chairperson of the NID Steering Committee and as vice chairperson of Friends of Hudson River Park.

I would like to address some concerns raised by Nicole Vianna in her letter to the editor.

First, the NID is required to provide a minimum of 60 percent of its budget directly to the Hudson River Park Trust on a yearly basis as stated in the NID district plan. The money will be allocated for approved maintenance and operations items in the Hudson River Park Trust’s budget. This budget is created and approved yearly through meetings that are open to the public.  Moreover, the board of directors of the NID can audit the Trust on a yearly basis to account for the funds provided.

Second, debt service would not take precedence over budget items. The 60 percent of funds that are dedicated to the Trust cannot be superseded by debt service — this money is guaranteed to the Trust on a yearly basis. The option to borrow is an ability many improvement districts have in order to efficiently pay for cost-intensive capital projects. The NID foresees very few projects (if any) that would require borrowing — a pedestrian bridge over the highway might be one such project. However, the debt service on any project will never diminish the money that will go for park maintenance and operations.

Third, the NID will actually strengthen the opportunity for neighborhoods to determine how resources are used.  The NID’s board of directors will be composed of members from your local neighborhood — residential and commercial owners, residential and commercial tenants and community board representatives. Board members will be voted on at annual, open meetings. Moreover, the NID’s scope of services has been designed not to duplicate or replace the work that local groups and associations are already doing. Improvement districts actually empower local organizations, residents, and businesses by providing the resources to accomplish projects they identify to be of local need.

I encourage everyone to visit our website, HRPNID.org, for more information and to sign our petition in support of this very important project.
Scott M. Lawin
Lawin is co-chairperson, Hudson River Park Neighborhood Improvement District Steering Committee

2 Responses to Scott M. Lawin: Letter on NID needs clarification

  1. Nicole Vianna May 1, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    As co-chair of the Steering Committee of the HRP NID, maybe Lawin has seen a significantly updated version of the HRP NID District Plan; my letter of April 11 was based on the 3/15/13 draft District Plan, which is the only version available to the public. Pages 30 (holdbacks of the 60%) and 37 (priority of debt service over all other budget items) give the facts relayed in my 4/11 letter. Everyone in the proposed District should read the District Plan at http://www.hrpnid.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/…. instead of sales pitches before signing either petition (ours is linked at http://nohrpnid.blogspot.com/ ).

    Reply
  2. Nicole Vianna May 1, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    The draft District Plan does not specify the number of BID Board representatives for each category of member or any required geographic diversity, an significant omission for a District that is almost five miles long. There are approximately 8,000 property owners in addition to countless commercial tenants and renters that will be eligible for the in-person only voting at the annual meeting. Where will it be held, the Javits Center? How would an ordinary individual get the name and platform recognition across the entire District to get elected? Yes, Mr. Lawin, Improvement Districts can empower locals, but only if the Improvement District is local and the NID, at five miles long and 1/3 mile wide, is not.

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