Community Impact Statements are official letters that can be issued by neighborhood councils stating the position that the board has voted to take on a particular issue. CIS are one of the more noteworthy means that a neighborhood council can make their voice heard in City government. First and foremost, a CIS includes a position on the issue in question. These positions can include support, opposition, support if amended, opposition unless amended, or no position. A CIS is also an opportunity to provide a nuanced opinion on a particular subject matter and make the voice of the community heard.
Matters before the City Council are assigned a “Council File Number” (CF) and can be accessed on the City Clerk’s Council File Management System (CFMS). CIS letters are included in the file and are publicly available.
If the Board has approved a CIS, the City Council will give a representative of the NC additional time for public comment on that particular item. The representative of the neighborhood council may use this time to advocate for and explain the Boards position on the issue in front of the City Council or a City Council Committee. The extended time given to those presenting a CIS is usually five minutes, in lieu of the normal minute provided.
A CIS is drafted and proposed by neighborhood council board members, but can be proposed by stakeholders as well. To submit a CIS for consideration, a request should be sent to the Executive Committee of the neighborhood council. Information that should be included is: the relevant council file number, a position on the issue, and preferably a draft CIS. The request will be subsequently referred to the appropriate committee for consideration. If approved by the relevant committee, the CIS draft will move forward for consideration by the full Board of the neighborhood council. If approved by the full Board, the CIS will become the Board’s position on the issue and will be sent to the City for posting to the Council File.