Victory! Proposed Landmarks Budget Cuts Restored, but More Help Needed
We are pleased to report that after hundreds of you sent letters to city officials, the Mayor’s Executive Budget submitted last week restored the cuts to the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) that were in the Mayor’s preliminary proposed budget released in February. This is a HUGE victory for preservation, and we thank Councilmembers Christopher Marte and Erik Bottcher for their support, as well as all of you who wrote to oppose these damaging cuts.
But the battle isn’t over. Those now-restored proposed cuts aside, the LPC (the city’s smallest agency) has been gutted in recent years, with many fewer staff to do the job of identifying and helping to landmark significant historic structures, and to process applications for routine maintenance, upkeep, and restoration of landmarked properties. Salaries for staff have not kept pace with inflation, and there has been dramatic and concerning levels of turnover at the agency. As a result, fewer landmark designations are taking place (like in areas where they are desperately needed, such as South of Union Square) and wait times for many applications by small property owners are rising.
Now that we’ve restored the draconian ADDITIONAL cuts proposed to the agency in the Mayor’s preliminary budget, we MUST fight to restore the staffing and adjusted salary levels the agency had just a few years ago, to ensure it can so its job of protecting and efficiently regulating our city and neighborhoods’ historic heritage.