Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Board Of Directors Meeting December 3 - RIRA Public Purpose Funds Recommendations Not On Agenda, RIOC Proposed 2016 - 17 Budget And RIYP Expenditures Among Items On Agenda

  Image From RIOC

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors will be meeting tomorrow, December 3 (Web cast will be available here). Among the items on the Agenda are:
1. Approval of the Proposed RIOC Budget for Fiscal Year 2016-17 (Board Action Required)
3. Authorization of Expenditure of Funds for Roosevelt Island Youth Center (Board Action Required)
What was expected to be on the December 3 RIOC Board Agenda for discussion and approval was the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) recommendations for allocating $100 Thousand in RIOC Public Purpose Funds (PPF) to local Roosevelt Island organizations. As of 1 PM today, the RIRA PPF recommendations are not yet on the RIOC Board Agenda for tomorrow's meeting.

The RIRA 2015 Public Purpose Funds recommendations are as follows.
  • PS/IS 217 Parent Teachers Association (PTA) - Amount Requested: $32,000 Amount Recommended: $17,000
  • Roosevelt Island Visual Arts Association (RIVAA) - Amount Requested: $42,000 Amount Recommended: $9,300 
  • Life Frames, Inc. - Amount Requested: $19,900 Amount Recommended: $5,000
  • Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS) - Amount Requested: $24,700 Amount Recommended: $8,00
  • Roosevelt Island Senior Association (RISA) - Amount Requested: $20,000 Amount Recommended: $15,000
  • Island Kids - Amount Requested: $20,000 Amount Recommended: $7,000 
  • Roosevelt Island Disabled Association (RIDA) - Amount Requested: $11,400 Amount Recommended: $11,000
  • Youth Center‐IDig2Learn - Amount Requested: $15,000 Amount Recommended: $9,000 
  • Main Street Theater and Dance Alliance - Amount Requested: $35,000 Amount Recommended: $18,700
The Island Kids Board of Directors sent the following letter to the RIOC Board of Directors asking for a larger Public Purpose Funds allocation than was recommended by RIRA:
Dear Members of the RIOC Board of Directors,

We are writing to express our extreme disappointment regarding the Public Purpose Fund application process. We believe that RIRA’s recommended allocation for Island Kids was unfairly reduced, due to misinformation and lack of communication.

We feel the need to point out the following regarding RIOC’s fiscal year and the dissemination of funds. Despite repeated requests for clarification, we never received a definitive answer as to which Fiscal Year we were applying, from either RIOC or RIRA’s PPF Committee. However, at the Special Meeting on Nov. 11th, PPF Committee Chair Dave Evans explained that a determining factor that negatively affected our request was that it was for “reimbursement funds” for our 2015 Summer Camp season. Had the PPF process proceeded as it has in all other years, the allocation would have been made earlier in the year, (and spent over the summer). If we are indeed working within RIOC’s current fiscal year, which runs from April 1st to March 31st, won’t all payments to Public Purpose recipients be retroactive? This would be a contradiction to the concern expressed by the RIRA Public Purpose committee. Similarly, if the $7,000 we did receive is intended for next Summer’s Camp Scholarship Fund, we are precluded from applying for FY2016 - the only applying Organization facing such restriction.

We’d like to share with you specifically how our Public Purpose Fund allocation is put to use, and shed some light on why we requested $20,000.

Island Kids runs a high-quality Summer Camp for children ages 4 - 10. We strive to keep our Camp as affordable as possible ($325 per week, compared to $600 - $800 for comparable “affordable”, non-Government funded camps in Manhattan). 100% of any Public Purpose Funding that we request goes to provide scholarships to families unable to otherwise afford the camp. When, earlier this year, it looked like Public Purpose Funding would be entirely taken away, our Board made the difficult decision to fund $10,000 in scholarships for the Summer Camp from our very scarce Operating reserve – a surplus we had for the first time in our history. This prevented us from taking on other improvement projects and supply purchases, and left us financially vulnerable should an emergency expenditure arise. In the end, we managed to provide scholarships to every qualifying RI family that applied for one.

We hoped that if PP Funding was reinstated, we could offset this expense ($10,000), as well as secure the same amount of funding ($10,000) for next Summer - thus the $20,000 request. The $7,000 Allocation that RIRA recommends not only leaves us at a deficit for this current fiscal year, but severely hampers our ability to offer Scholarships for next summer. Unlike last summer, without more funds, we will surely have to turn down scholarship applicants.

Island Kids has worked hard over the last several years to develop programming to ensure our financial stability. In addition, thanks to an in-kind grant from the Lawyer’s Alliance, we’ve taken measures to ensure that we are fully compliant with all applicable laws governing Non Profit Organizations. It would seem that a grant making organization would recognize these efforts. Instead, this year RIRA is recommended a $3,000 cut in our funds from the last grant cycle, the lowest amount Island Kids has ever received through Public Purpose funds.

Island Kids respectfully asks RIOC to consider our original award application and amount during your final award deliberations.


Island Kids Inc. Board of Directors
During the November 11 RIRA meeting, PPF Chair Dave Evans and committee member Erin Feely-Nahem explained their rationale for the Island Kids recommendations saying that PPF funds could not be used for reimbursement of prior spending requested by Island Kids.

Here's video of Island Kids and all the other Public Purpose Funds applicants to RIRA PPF committee.

The proposed RIOC 2016-17 Budget is on the Agenda. (More on the budget here)

Also on the December 3 RIOC Board Agenda is distribution of funds to the Roosevelt Island Youth Program (RIYP).  According to this November 20 memo from RIOC Staff to RIOC President Charlene Indelicato and the RIOC Directors in support of expenditure of funds for RIYP:
As you are aware, included in the Board approved FY 15-16 (April 1, 2015 – March 31, 2016) Budget is a $175,000 disbursement for the Roosevelt Island Youth Center (“Youth Center”) — currently being operated by the Roosevelt Island Youth Program (“RIYP”). The Youth Center through RIYP offers programs vital to the Island and its youth, consistent with the General Development Plan and RIOC’s Mission Statement.

Programs provided by RIYP include a summer day camp, fitness activities, computer lab access and music instruction. RIYP also manages extensive after school activities, an organized sports curriculum and other recreational programs as part of the PS/IS 217 Beacon Program, for which it receives NYC funding.

At its meeting of April 16, 2015 the Board of Directors approved the authorization to disburse a pro-rated amount of $131,250 of the budgeted $175,000 in order to ensure continuity of the programs while a Request for Proposals (“RFP”) was drafted and advertised. The RFP is now expected to be ready during the winter months, but at issue is the continuity of programming. It is my understanding that RIYP and other similarly situated programs are subject to new City requirements for Beacon Program funding, which has led to delays in the receipt of such funds with concomitant impacts to RIYP’s cash flow. This matter was discussed at the November 17, 2015 meeting of the Real Estate Development Advisory Committee and recommended to go before the Board for action.

Therefore, in order to ensure the continued operations of the Youth Center until the RFP is advertised and an operating agreement is let, we recommend the approval to disburse the remaining $43,750 out of the initial $175,000 budget for the Roosevelt Island Youth Program.
The RIOC Real Estate Advisory Committee discussion of RIYP expenditures discussed here.

Below is the December 3 RIOC Board of Directors meeting Agenda.
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a Board of Directors meeting will be held on Thursday, December 3, 2015 at 5:30 p.m. at the Cultural Center Theater, 548 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York, for the purpose of transacting such business as shall come before the Board.

The Open Meetings Law of the State of New York requires that all public bodies conduct meetings, convened for the purpose of officially conducting public business, in a manner open to attendance by the general public to observe and listen.






5:30 P.M.[1]

I. Call to Order

II. Roll Call

III. Approval of Minutes

1. October 22, 2015 Board Meeting (Board Action Required)

IV. Old Business

V. New Business

1. Approval of the Proposed RIOC Budget for Fiscal Year 2016-17 (Board Action Required)

2. Schedule of 2016 Meetings of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation Board of Directors (Board Action Required)

3. Authorization of Expenditure of Funds for Roosevelt Island Youth Center (Board Action Required)

4. Authorization to Enter into Contract with Blackbaud, Inc. for Financial Accounting Software Support & Maintenance Services (Board Action Required)

5. Authorization to Enter into Contract with ENVAC for On-Call AVAC Repair Services (Board Action Required)

6. Authorization to Amend the Contract with United Metro Energy Corp. for the Purchase of #2 Heating Oil (Board Action Required)

7. Authorization to Enter into Contract with Corporate Loss Prevention Association for Cultural Center Security and Building Manager (Board Action Required)

8. Authorization to Amend the License and Operating Agreement with the Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance (MST&DA) (Board Action Required)

9. Authorization to Amend the License Agreement with the Roosevelt Island Garden Club, LTD (RIGC) (Board Action Required)

10. Authorization to Enter into Contract with Sprague Operating Resources LLC for the Purchase of Gasoline (Board Action Required)

11. President’s Report

12. Committee Reports

a. Audit Committee

b. Governance Committee

c. Operations Advisory Committee

[1] The RIOC Board Meeting will commence following a public comment period. The public comment period is not part of the meeting.
UPDATE 10:15 PM - The Roosevelt Island Residents Association Common Council met this evening and discussed issue of Public Purpose Funds not being on the RIOC Board meeting agenda for tomorrow.

UPDATE 12/3 8 PM - The RIRA Public Purpose Funds recommendations was a last minute late afternoon addition to today's RIOC Board Agenda.

The RIRA Public Purpose Funds recommendations were approved with no changes by the RIOC Board today.

It was also announced that Governor Cuomo signed the Roosevelt Island Public Purpose Funds legislation today allowing RIOC to allocate grants to Roosevelt Island non profit organizations.

Stay tuned for more on subject.

UPDATE 12/4 - Here's video of RIOC Board approving the RIRA Public Purpose Funds recommendations.

and RIOC President Charlene Indelicato congratulating RIRA and its Public Purpose Funds Committee Chair Dave Evans for a difficult job well done.

Roosevelt Island's NY State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright said of Governor Cuomo signing the legislation allowing RIOC to distribute Public Purpose Fund grants:
The true beneficiaries of our persistence and dedication are the residents of Roosevelt Island. We thank all of the parties involved in successfully helping to assure that our legislation crossed the goal line.
Roosevelt Island's NY State Senator Jose Serrano added:
I'm happy to learn that Governor Cuomo has signed my Roosevelt Island bill (S5813) into law. This law will authorize the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) to continue providing much-needed grants to not-for-profit organizations that provide vital services to the Roosevelt Island community. It's a pleasure to have worked with my colleague Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright on this important legislation, and I'd like to thank her for her leadership. I'd also like to express my gratitude to Governor Cuomo for his support on this and many other critical issues.