Council member Stephen Levin discusses participatory budgeting.

From March 28-April 3, Greenpointers can vote for or against many proposed neighborhood projects for District 33—which includes Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Brooklyn Heights, Boerum Hill, Williamsburg, DUMBO, and Vinegar Hill—giving residents a say in how the district uses its yearly budget.

The ability to vote on how the district uses its money is called Participatory Budgeting, and it gives residents the opportunity to speak out about which projects are important to them. Greenpointers will vote at the Greenpoint Library on Norman Avenue. You only have to be a resident of the neighborhood (not necessarily registered to vote) to cast your ballot.

Voters can choose five projects out of the proposed 15; out of those 15, three are proposed for Greenpoint and six for Williamsburg, giving Greenpointers on the edge of the two hoods a chance to select some projects affecting their neighbors to the south.

In Greenpoint, there is one proposed school project and two park projects. The school project is a proposal to improve STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering and Math) labs at IS 318 in East Williamsburg and PS 34 in Greenpoint, which would cost about $500,000. The parks proposed include a playground at MS 126, which is currently a cement lot ($500,000); and repairing sidewalks and fencing at McGolrick Park ($500,000).


District 33 has a minimum budget of about $1 million. “Our budget for New York City is about $77 billion. So this is not the majority of the city’s budget,” says Stephen Levin, the district’s council member, in the promotional video about Participatory Budgeting on his tumblr, “but people have faith that through this process, they know at the very least where that funding is going…it gives people more faith in the transparency of government, in the fairness of government, that there’s some responsiveness and accountability.”

For more information about the proposed projects across the entire district, visit Stephen Levin’s tumblr. Any resident 14 or older can vote at the Greenpoint Library March 28-31 from 1-8 p.m.; April 1 from 1-6 p.m.; and April 2 from 1-5 p.m.

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