Participatory Budgeting: Vote Results

Participatory Budgeting: Vote Results

April 2, 2012
For Immediate Release

Over 2,000 Residents Turn Out
In First Participatory Budgeting Vote

Seven winning projects in Councilmember Lander’s district to be funded with $1 million in City funds

This weekend, 2,213 residents of City Councilmember Brad Lander’s diverse Brooklyn district voted in NYC’s first “participatory budgeting” election, a groundbreaking initiative that lets community members decide how to spend their own tax dollars on projects in their neighborhood. Voters selected from among twenty projects proposed by neighborhood residents. The seven projects receiving the most votes will be prioritized for funding as part of the City’s FY2013 budget, which will be adopted in June, with just over $1 million in City capital funds committed by Councilmember Lander:

Bathroom Renovation for the Children of PS 124 - $150,000 

Renovate two dysfunctional bathrooms that serve over 136 of the youngest students daily in a high-needs elementary school. 958 votes

Brooklyn Neighbors Composting - $165,000

Pest-free, smell-free compost system near Gowanus Canal uses 1 ton/day of kitchen food scraps collected at local greenmarkets and schools to create rich soil for our gardens, parks, and trees. 919 votes

 District 39 Tree Planting - $100,000

Plant 100 new trees and install tree guards on blocks with few or no trees (Parks Department will contribute an additional $85,000 to this effort for tree planting). 767 votes

 Technology: A Better Future for PS 154 / PS 130 Students - $140,000

Installation of 15 Smartboards (PS 130), 45 13" Macbook computers with 2 carts and 2 wireless printers (PS 154 grades 1, 3, & 4). 758 votes

 Prospect Park Pedestrian Pathway Rehabilitation - $205,000

Repair Prospect Park pedestrian paths near Park Circle and Long Meadow to prevent flooding, add 10 trash cans in park. 648 votes

 Pedestrian Hazards at the Prospect Expressway - $200,000

Repairs & additions to badly damaged and dangerous 9 lane Prospect Expressway pedestrian crossing at Church Avenue, area and landscape. 606 votes

 Kensington Library Resources and Community Space - $80,000

New books/DVDs for library, equipment for meetings, storytelling, rehearsals, and small performances promoting Kensington's cultural diversity. 582 votes

Vote totals for all projects can be viewed here. 

“This is revolutionary civics in action,” said Councilmember Lander.  “Participatory budgeting helps to restore confidence in democratic government as a vehicle for collective action to solve problems. New Yorkers showed that when you give them the opportunity to make real decisions, they will take that power seriously, work together, and make good choices. I was overwhelmed by the turnout and deep level of engagement, and I’m thrilled that we are funding the projects that the people have prioritized.”

Last fall, Councilmembers Lander, Mark-Viverito, Ulrich, and Williams launched participatory budgeting in New York City, which began with a series of well-attended neighborhood assemblies to brainstorm project ideas.  Attendees formed “budget delegate committees” and met to review, research, and develop ideas into complete proposals for the ballot.

The ballot included 20 proposed projects, which were developed by residents of the district.  Projects included school technology and bathrooms, new park equipment, a community composting facility, and improvements to subway and bus stations.  All twenty projects can be viewed at

The Windsor Terrace Library, with over 700 voters, was the busiest voting location and saw lines of over 100 eager-yet-patient residents waiting to cast their ballot.  There were six voting locations spread across the district with voting on Saturday March 31st and Sunday April 1st, and early voting at Councilmember Lander’s office.

Lander also committed to push forward on several other projects on the ballot that did not receive enough votes to qualify for a share of the $1 million, but around which community residents have coalesced:

  • Getting “bus countdown clocks” at bus shelters.
  • Working with Kensington’s Bangladeshi community to create an “International Mother Language” monument as part of the renovation of Dome Playground.
  • Address flooding and other improvements at the Ft. Hamilton F/G subway station.
  • Getting DOT to repave 50th Street between Ft. Hamilton Parkway & 13th Avenue.
  • Facilitating more community access, WiFi, and amenities at the Carroll Gardens library.

PB fosters the most inclusive form of democracy in New York City: Community members, regardless of voter registration or immigration status, vote on which projects should receive funding.  PB builds community by introducing neighbors to one another and citizens are engaged in the practices of self-government by equipping them with the power and knowledge to decide how to spend their tax dollars in support of the public good.  Lander and the other councilmembers have committed to use PB to allocate funds again next year.




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