By David Brand
The New York City Charter could undergo major changes for the first time since 1989 and the commission appointed to review the governing document wants your input.
The New York City Charter Revision Commission will host a series of public hearings as part of Charter Week, which will build on the recommendations listed in the Preliminary Staff Report released today.
After conducting hearings in all five boroughs and soliciting testimony from various stakeholders, the commission focused on five overarching alterations to the charter aimed at promoting inclusion and civic engagement. Yesterday, the commission announced it will host two public hearings in Queens next week
On Wednesday, July 25, the commission will host a public hearing from 9 am to 11 am at the Astoria Greenmarket located at 14th St, 31st Ave and 31st Road.
On Thursday, July 26, the commission will head to Queens Borough Hall, located at 120-55 Queens Blvd in Kew Gardens, for a hearing at 6 pm.
“I’d like to thank all of the New Yorkers who came out to the hearings to discuss how we can improve civic life in New York City. New Yorkers have been engaged since the start of this process and this report reflects the wide range of issues we discussed in all five boroughs, “ said Commission Chair Cesar Perales. “Now, the Commission is going to get back to work meeting with New Yorkers at another round of hearings to discuss this report and ultimately will issue a final report and proposals to put before the voters in the fall.”
The commission’s recommendations include new campaign finance reforms. Specifically, the commission suggested reducing campaign contribution limits, strengthening public financing and increasing the cap on public matching funds.
The commission also recommended the continued study of proposals to increase voter participation and civic engagement. They said the commission should study “ways to strengthen the City’s efforts to engage its residents in civic activities, including through possibly establishing a new entity or office charged with that purpose.”
Community Board term limits also came under review by the commission, which recommended further consideration of term limits for Community Board members in order to ensure the boards reflect the communities they serve. The commission also recommended providing additional support and resources to Community Boards, especially related to urban planning.
Finally, the commission advocates for additional study on redistricting to meet criteria set forth in the Voting Rights Act and address potential undercounts in the 2020 U.S. Census.