How would you spend public dollars in your neighborhood? With participatory budgeting, you have the chance to weigh in on that question.
Participatory budgeting—now in its eighth year in New York City—allows community members to vote on whether to fund neighborhood upgrades proposed by residents in a months-long process of public meetings. This year’s round of voting kicked off Sunday, March 30 and will run until Sunday, April 7.
Those who reside in the 32 New York City Council districts participating in the program can vote online and in select physical polling sites to determine how some $35 million in city dollars is spent. Funds can go toward a variety of projects including public school renovations, road repairs, and nonprofit aid.
Last year, more than 99,000 people living in the five boroughs participated in the civic engagement program, which strives to make the city’s budgeting process more transparent, and determined how $36.6 million in the city was spent—124 community improvement projects for parks, public housing, libraries and more were funded, according to the city.
For an idea of what was funded through participatory budgeting last year, visit the City Council’s website. Since 2012, city dwellers have helped allocate $210 million on 706 projects, says the city. To vote this year, New Yorkers must be at least 11-years-old and live within a participating district (find your district and vote here.)