Do you feel strongly about your Manhattan neighborhood? Do you want to help influence city policies, like bike lanes and restaurant openings? Does the thought of convening with your fellow New Yorkers to hash out the details excite you? Then get your application for your local Community Board ready this weekend—because the deadline is next week

If you live, work, or go to school in Manhattan, and are age 16 or older, you're eligible to apply. The simple online application involves providing basic information about who you are and short explanations of why you would want to be on the board and what'd you'd bring to the job.

But what is a community board?

Basically, it's a board of community members that can formally weigh in on issues that affect life in a certain geographic zone—a community district. (Manhattan, for example, is split into 12 districts).

According to Brewer's office, the three roles of a board are:

  • Monitoring the delivery of city services such as sanitation and street maintenance;
  • Planning and reviewing land use applications including zoning changes; and

  • Making recommendations for each year's city budget.

They explain:

Community boards consider a wide range of issues, including distribution of liquor licenses, consideration of sidewalk café applications, and permits for street fairs and other outdoor events. They may also weigh in issues before the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the Board of Standards and Appeals (the city agency dedicated to land-use and zoning regulation), and provide input on proposals from city agencies.

Each board has 50 members, who work on an unpaid basis. They're appointed by the borough president, half based on recommendations from the local City Council member. The other 25 slots are filled through the application process.

According to Brewer, her office is seeking to diversify the borough's boards, in terms of demographics as well as work/life experience. Brewer told Gothamist they're also hoping to find members who are really committed to the work. "We want people who will stick it out," she said.

Boards meet monthly, but board members also sit on subcommittees dedicated to issues like parks, health and human services, transportation, and education.

While the board's decisions are not binding, they are influential, as their votes are the closest thing there is for a community to formally weigh in on city policies that will affect it. Pressure from boards can delay a city policy, push the city to bring a certain service to a neighborhood, or kill a city policy entirely. (Though at the end of the day, the city makes the final call.)

We explained some of the strengths and weaknesses of the CB system in more depth here.

As they say, "All politics is local." So consider applying!

If you live or work in Brooklyn, you have until February 17th to apply to be on a CB there. Bronxites have until the end of today (February 3rd) to apply to their boards. The Staten Island Borough President's office accepts applications on a rolling basis, but currently there are no seats open. The 2017 application deadline for Queens has passed.