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New York City is experiencing a new kind of democracy. Through Participatory Budgeting, residents of twenty-four Council Districts across the City are directly deciding how to spend $25 million of taxpayer money. From September 2014 to April 2015, community members are exchanging ideas, working together to turn ideas into project proposals, and voting to decide what proposals get funded.
Participatory budgeting is a grassroots process through which district residents vote directly to allocate at least $1 million in capital funding toward proposals developed by the community to meet local needs. Through a series public meetings, residents work with elected officials for a year to identify neighborhood concerns and craft proposals to address them. Residents then decide which proposals to fund through a public vote.
Good government groups hail participatory budgeting as a powerful tool to increase civic participation and community engagement. The only identification requirement is proof of residency in the district; voting in participatory budgeting is open to all residents 16 years of age and older, removing traditional obstacles to full civic participation such as youth, income status, English-language proficiency and citizenship status.
Learn more about Participatory Budgeting and how you can get involved at http://council.nyc.gov/PB.
- Julian Morales
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