Four Councilmembers Join Participatory Budgeting Program
In the Press
Brooklyn Councilman Brad Lander is hosting a neighborhood assembly tonight in which he will ask his constituents how they want to spend $1 million of city funds in their community. The assembly is part of a process called “Participatory Budgeting” (PB) in which neighborhood members design projects and vote directly on how to allocate capital dollars in their districts. Last year was the first time in history that PB was tried in the city and only the second time it was attempted in the U.S. “Participatory Budgeting was a huge success… with thousands of people working together to choose much-needed projects in their neighborhoods,” said Lander, who was one of four councilmembers to participate in PB in its inaugural year. The other three were Eric Ulrich of Queens, Councilman Jumaane Williams of Brooklyn, and Melissa Mark-Viverito, who represents both Manhattan and The Bronx. This year, four additional councilmembers have signed on to the novel approach to civic engagement: Queens’ Mark Weprin and Dan Halloran and Brooklyn’s Steve Levin and David Greenfield. Weprin admitted to being a little skeptical about PB at first, but after hearing rave reviews from his colleagues and seeing how people in his district reacted to the idea, he was convinced to give it a try. “I felt like it was a great opportunity to give my constituents an opportunity to see how their government works and to have an active role in it,” said Weprin.
What does your neighborhood need? An improved park? Safer streets? New school technology? In participatory budgeting, you give your ideas and City Councilmember Brad Lander has set aside $1 million to fund them. And your votes will decide which projects get funded.