Borough Park

Democracy is Inspiring

Participatory budgeting neighborhood assembly

Last fall, as part of our new participatory budgeting initiative, we asked for your ideas for projects that would improve our neighborhoods. Nearly 1,000 of you answered the call and offered your ideas – from subway station improvements, to new community spaces, to upgrades to local playgrounds. You can view all of the ideas people submitted here.

Since then, a team of 100 community volunteers have been working in seven “budget delegate” committees to research and evaluate these ideas, to figure out which ones are feasible, and determine how much they would cost.

They are now working to put together the ballot – at the end of March, you will be able to vote on which projects will get funded. Read more »

Education Committee Asks the Hard Questions

Participatory Budgeting update from Jason Boutin of the Education Committee:

It's probably safe to say the delegates of the Education committee got more than they bargained for out of the Participatory Budget process. This is said from the perspective of the effort undertaken as well as from the rewarding nature of the work. It's been a tremendously interesting journey so far, but probably not the one anyone expected. Read more »

Participatory Budgeting – Turning Your Ideas Into Projects

Kensington curb

Participatory Budgeting update from Michael Fettman of the Streets & Sidewalks Committee:

What a great feeling. After weeks and months of meetings and learning about the Participatory Budgeting process, going through so many ideas submitted by our friends and neighbors, and learning all about how to maneuver and comply with all the government bureaucracies, we finally got to the point of putting the finishing touches on to the proposals that we are ready to submit for review. Soon, our neighbors will get to give us their input on our proposals, which will be put up for a vote in March to decide which ones will get funded. Read more »

2011 Annual Report

Over the past year, people in NYC and around the globe have called for government that is more accountable to the people. I’ve worked to achieve a high standard of accountability – in that spirit I’m pleased to share this annual report on what we accomplished in 2011, what we learned, and what we’re hoping to do in the year to come. You can view the report below, download it, or explore our interactive map of accomplishments from the past year.

 

Budget delegates for the Parks and Recreation committee get real

Photo of JC Martinez-Sifre

Participatory Budgeting update from JC Martinez-Sifre of the Parks and Recreation Committee:

The reality is beginning to set in for budget delegates engaged in Councilmember Brad Lander's initiative to make participatory budgeting a functional reality in his district.

“I think we’re all beginning to understand how big a process this is going to be,” said Budget Delegate, Michael Hickey of Kensington. The delegates, if they weren't already aware, are coming to understand that this is not going to be a brief exercise in spending a million dollars of public funds. Read more »

Of Dumpster Pools and Solar Panels: Checking In on NYC’s Participatory Budgeting Project

Channel 13 WNET
12/12/2011

Participatory budgeting, an experiment in democratic engagement that launched in New York City this fall, allows citizens to suggest how their tax dollars should be spent, and then to vote on the proposed ideas.

Hundreds of people in the districts of the four  Council members involved — Brad LanderJumaane WilliamsMelissa Mark-Viverito and Eric Ulrich — attended public assemblies over the past few months to share their ideas on how to spend approximately $1 million per district in capital funds. The proposals are now being considered by volunteer committees and will be put to a vote this spring. Read more »

New Program Lets Taxpayers Do More than Gripe About City Spending

Gotham Gazette
12/02/2011

From the Occupy protestors to millions expressing disgust with debt ceiling debacle, many American are angry about how the government spends money,. something most of them have little control over outside the polling booth. Now, four New York City Council members are trying to change this and give residents a direct say in where the funding goes, at least on a local level.

"I walk down my street every day, wishing I could do something about the conditions," said Ali Abdul Rahman, a resident of Brooklyn’s 39th district, who is getting the opportunity to do some budget . "Well, now there is." Read more »

Standing together against anti-Semitism

I was proud to march together today with a wide array of elected officials, Jewish and non-Jewish community leaders, and activists to condemn Friday's hideous anti-Semitic attacks in Midwood, Brooklyn, and to show our unity against hatred.   Read more »