Looking for an easy way to get involved in your community? Now’s your chance—and when we say easy, we mean it.
The New York City Council is currently in the midst of a grassroots, democratic process known as Participatory Budgeting. Every year, community members introduce spending initiatives for their specific districts, then members of said district vote on the initiatives they want to see funded. The current voting period is open until April 15.
Projects that are eligible run the gamut from school upgrades (such as new playground equipment or water fountains), to planting trees within a community, to street-level improvements for pedestrians and cyclists. And this year, you can vote for as many as five proposals on your district ballot. Each participating Council Member guarantees funding for the projects that receive the most votes, until their PB funding runs out.
A caveat: Not all City Council members participate in the process, since they have to allocate at least $1 million of their budget for PB proposals. But finding out whether your City Council member is taking part is simple; the full list of participating councilors is here, and if you need to find out who reps your neighborhood, you can do that on the City Council website.
You can either vote at local polling sites or right here, online (see, we said it would be easy). In order to vote, you must live in the district and be at least 11 years old or at least in sixth grade. Eligible voters must sign an affidavit to confirm age and residency in the district.
- Participatory Budgeting [Official]