Melissa joined three of her colleagues today in unveiling a new groundbreaking budgeting process called Participatory Budgeting. Through this process, community members will directly decide how to spend at least 1 million dollars in capital funds in each of the four participating districts. Council Members Brad Lander, Eric Ulrich and Jumaane Williams are the other three members participating in this process. Typically, this funding is distributed at the exclusive discretion of Council Members, but for the first time in New York City history, residents of these four districts will have an opportunity to brainstorm, shape and vote on capital projects in their district.
The NYC Participatory Budgeting (PB) initiative is the largest of its kind in the U.S. Participatory budgeting has gained acceptance around the world as an innovative strategy for increasing civic participation and community engagement. But thus far in the United States, only one Chicago City Council ward has engaged in participatory budgeting.
How the Process Works
The PB initiative will take place in three stages, including a series of community meetings in each district, a process for finalizing proposals and a final public vote. Throughout the month of October, we will hold a series of “neighborhood assemblies,” where the brainstorming process will begin. All residents of District 8, as well as those who work and go to school in our district, will be invited to participate in these assemblies (Look out for the dates and locations coming soon!) and identify local priorities. Out of those neighborhood assemblies, budget delegates will be chosen to refine and further develop the proposals that emerge. After another set of neighborhood assemblies in the winter, a public vote will take place around March 2012.
We hope that everyone in District 8 will play an active role in this process. Here are some of the things you can do:
- Attend a Neighborhood Assembly
Dates and locations will be available soon. Check back to our new PB page (www.mmviverito.com/pbnyc) or join our e-mail list by clicking here.
- Spread the Word to All of Your Neighbors and Friends
Tell everyone you know in our district about this new initiative, especially once the dates and locations of the neighborhood assemblies are released. Talk to your neighbors and the other parents at your children’s school. Announce it at your next tenant association meeting. You get the idea!
- Volunteer to Help Out with this Process
You can help out at a neighborhood assembly by volunteering to provide translation or child care, or by helping us to do outreach in the community to ensure that we have lots of participation. E-mail email@example.com for more information.
- Sign Up to Be a Budget Delegate
Budget delegates make a commitment to help transform projects from ideas into proposals that the community can vote on next March. If you are interested in becoming a delegate, you can begin by attending one or more of our neighborhood assemblies. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.