Downtown Brooklyn Partnership contract with city is up

The public/private non-profit organization charged with marketing and spearheading the drive to make Downtown Brooklyn a 24/7 destination could be losing a major funding stream.

The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership Development Corporation is not slated to receive any money, according to Mayor Bloomberg’s preliminary Fiscal Year 2011 budget.

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 contract commenced in FY 2007 and will expire in FY 2010. We have no funding in the budget beyond FY 2010 for Downtown Brooklyn,” said an SBS spokesperson.

The spokesperson said the organization received $2,099,999 in year one of the contract, $1,919,000 in year two of the contract, $1,275,816 in year three of the contract and $789,806 in 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 District and fees from business, cultural and academic institutions.

The DBP also receives administrative money for helping managing the MetroTech Business Improvement District, Fulton Mall Improvement Association (FMIA) and the Court, Livingston and Schermerhorn (CLSBID).

When the contracts were signed with these BIDs, some BID members were upset because they felt that administrative services could be better handled by the BIDs themselves.

The DBP argued that by consolidating some administrative services the BIDs, which are contiguous, could streamline costs.

Fran Schor, president of the CLSBID, refused comment, and MetroTech BID Executive Director Michael Weiss was on vacation.

DBP spokesperson Lee Silberstein said when the partnership was launched four years ago there was a three-year commitment by the city to provide the organization with funding and that was stretched to a fourth year.

“At that time there was no determination one way or another beyond the three-year period. To say they the (DBP) have lost their funding would imply that funding was there and has been taken away and that is inaccurate,” he said.

According to the latest DBP tax filings, several employees are making six figures including President Joe Chan ($220,000), Executive Director of Policy Michael Burke ($148,068) and Director of Planning Katherine Dixon ($101,357).

While the DBP has lost their funding, some political observers noted that there is a lot of time between the Mayor’s proposed budget and when the actual city budget is passed at the end of June. Often allocations are added in the budget negotiation process.

The two city council members who represent the area are Steve Levin and Letitia James.

Levin said he is planning to meet with Chan in the near future.

“I’m still studying the issue and can’t comment now,” said Levin.

James did not return phone calls.

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