Your Guide to This Year’s Participatory Budgeting Season


    A map of winning projects allocated funding through participatory budgeting for 2015

    It’s participatory budgeting season, and the first spate of Brooklyn events are coming up next week. Ten districts will be participating in Kings County: 33, 34, 36, 38, 39, 40, 44, 45, 47 and, for the first time, District 35 (Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights and Crown Heights).

    Begun in 2011, participatory budgeting is a program in which City Council members allow residents to allocate capital discretionary funds for various local projects. Last year, residents voted to help fund the creation of the Park Slope Library Storytelling Garden, new smart boards and restrooms for various borough schools, street repairs and resurfacing throughout participating districts, and a myriad of other projects that have been mapped by City Council (image above).

    Participatory budgeting not only allows neighborhood residents to determine how portions of a public budget are spent, it also necessitates an amount of transparency from City Council members and involves the community in a grassroots democratic process.

    For the rest of the calendar year, there will be neighborhood assemblies and delegate elections and orientations in which communities will come together in public meetings to brainstorm project ideas and learn about the participatory budgeting process. Draft project proposals will be made, revised and voted on come March, and implementation will begin in April.

    The 10 participating Brooklyn districts will hold more than 20 separate participatory budgeting events during the remainder of September and throughout October. Coming up, District 36 will be holding their first meeting of the season on September 19 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the basement Community Room at Restoration Plaza on Fulton St. District 35 held its first meeting on September 9, but has two more meetings on September 16 and 21 at separate sites respectively at Prospect Place and Myrtle Avenue.

    For a complete list of events, see the New York City Council calendar of upcoming events.

    Participatory Budgeting Coverage [Brownstoner]
    Map via City Council

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