Have Your Voice Heard With Participatory Budgeting

Real Money, Real Power: Participatory Budgeting from PBP on Vimeo.

Cycle 7 of NYC’s Participatory Budgeting initiative has begun! And Council Member Stephen Levin is riding high after Cycle 6’s success in District 33. “Participatory Budgeting is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget.” That is, you directly decide which of the proposed projects you feel should be funded and the popular vote wins. Projects are funded until the available money runs out. That funding comes directly from our district’s “discretionary funds” budget. Council Member Levin put aside $1.5 million for us last cycle and he’s doing it again this time.

Community members meet with District 33 Participatory Budgeting Coordinator Benjamin Solotaire last year.

Earlier this year, 3,789 people voted on which projects submitted by the community they would like funded. The winning projects include bus clocks with live, up-to-date arrival times at 12 stops along the B62/B32 bus routes; a STEAM Lab for Samuel Dupont Elementary School/P.S. 31 (75 Meserole St); and upgraded electrical wiring at Monitor School/P.S. 110 (124 Monitor St). With Cycle 7 ready to begin, there are a few ways to get involved. One is to submit your project idea–here are some winning ideas from other districts (26, 34, 35, 36, and 39). It’s an opportunity to get creative and really think outside of the box. What would make our community better for everyone? To begin that process, you can email District 33’s Participatory Budgeting Director Benjamin Solotaire ([email protected]). Or you can show up at 6:30pm tonight for the first Participatory Budgeting meeting at our district office, 410 Atlantic Avenue. Later on this year there will be opportunities to present your project to the Participatory Budgeting Committee with the top projects being voted on next spring. Here’s your chance to make a difference in the District 33 community.

About Siobhan Wallace

Siobhan Wallace is a freelance writer & editor. She co-founded the food blog Blondie & Brownie in 2008 and co-authored "New York à la Cart: Recipes and Stories from the Big Apple's Best Food Trucks" (Running Press, 2013).

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