After criticism, Minneapolis facilitates the proposed rules for neighborhood groups

Faced with disturbances from neighboring organizations, Minneapolis officials recommend a scaling back of a proposal that would put city funding from groups that are considered not representative of their communities.

Last week, the city released hundreds of public views about Neighborhoods 2020, an initiative that would fundamentally change how the 70 neighborhoods look and operate when their current municipal source comes out next year. Under the proposal, organizations could have lost out on whole city money unless they had demographically representative boards of their neighborhoods within 18 months.

After receiving the feedback, the city will release deadlines for neighborhood associations to diversify their leadership boards, said David Rubedor, director of the city's Neighborhood and Community Relations (NCR) department.

Neighborhood groups did not historically want racial diversity and participation from inmates, and the city met only 33% of its goals “vs. owner. renter ”and 50% of its“ color people ”targets last year. In their opinion, many groups urged the city to remove this requirement, that the boards would ask for color quotas to meet quota and would result in a symbol of minority board members.

“People wanted to achieve that goal but … they weren't sure exactly how,” Rubedor said. “We have done that and [are] looking more at a progressive approach. ”

According to Rubedor, each neighborhood organization will receive annual funding of $ 35,000 after a panel which reviewed the views of the public, recommended that they would at least need to meet the new demands.

The final proposals will be released on Friday and submitted to a committee of the City Council on 6 May, Rubedor said.

The first recommendation was released in January and feedback was collected via e-mail, letter and during March community meetings. While the 10,000 views gathered for a comprehensive 2040 plan were less last year, the approximately 300 views of Neighborhoods 2020 expressed the seriousness of the proposed changes to these associations.

A number of groups were very critical of the proposed changes, calling for a delay in voting by the City Council and the staff of the city to better incorporate their feedback into the proposals.

Rubedor said it was important for the city to go ahead. “I think that delays would continue at this point to keep neighborhoods uncertain,” he said.

The Northern Neighborhood Council, a collection of associations in northern Minneapolis sent a letter asking the council to reject the proposals until a number of other changes were made.

“In order to provide meaningful investments and work to the communities they serve, Neighborhood Organizations need long-term, reliable, long-term funding,” reads their report. “The proposal set does not set out what is required financially in relation to the expectations set.”

Others supported the city's drive to standardize the organizations, encourage cooperation and give transparency to their use of taxpayers' money.

“I hope the city recognizes that volunteers are made up of most of the neighborhoods and that volunteering is difficult to sustain,” wrote Katie Jones, president of Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association. “Guidance, assistance and partnership with the city will be vital for neighborhood steps to continue to make progress in these areas.”

Residents' views were generally appreciated by neighborhood organizations and their role in bringing people together through events such as outdoor festivals, farmers markets and National Night Out.

“I know there is a great deal of effort… to improve accountability, equity, and inclusiveness of these groups,” wrote Ben Osborn, who lives in the neighborhood of Hale. “I am confident that the city can … develop reasonable guidelines to help neighborhoods work towards these aims.”

Some of the council members said that they do not yet see the final recommendations and neighborhood associations have expressed concerns about the 2020 Neighborhood goals.

Council Member, Lisa Goodman, said the city should not be telling non-profit people how they should run. She said there was a checklist with basic “good governance” criteria – if associations put their taxes into effect, if they were to make fair elections, if they were open to everyone – they could serve their territory better.

“It is important that all the different nonprofits that the city co-operates with are treated equally, whether as neighborhood, non-profit organizations that are built by non-profit housing or advocacy organizations,” said Goodman.

Council Member Linea Palmisano, formerly Linden Hills Neighborhood Council board, said neighborhood organizations in Minneapolis in the south west were keen to see the final proposals.

“Most neighborhood associations specifically indicated that they support the overall goals of this plan,” she said. “They are delighted that NCR will be helping them achieve these goals, but they are very keen to hear concrete data.” T

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