Almost half of Queens’ councilmembers have signed on for participatory budgeting when next year’s budget rolls around, making them part of the 22 members that have joined the group participating in the new process, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced.
“As we work toward a more inclusive, transparent city government, I am excited for 22 Council districts to take part in the participatory budgeting—more than doubling our participation from the previous cycle,” she said. “The expanded process will give thousands of New Yorkers a hands-on role in making taxpayer dollars work for our communities,” Mark-Viverito added.
However, the 22 are less than half of the full council’s 51 members. But Mark-Viverito was still enthusiastic about the new numbers because the participatory budgeting for 22 districts will designate over $25 million toward locally developed projects.
Proponents of participatory budgeting (PB), like Mark-Viverito, are excited about it “because it’s a process through which district residents vote directly to allocate at least in capital funding, toward proposals developed by the community to meet local needs,” the Speaker explained.
The process includes a series of public meetings where residents work directly with their councilmember for a year to identify neighborhood concerns and devise proposals to address them. Residents then cast a vote or votes to select the proposal which gets into the budget.
The Queens councilmembers that opted into the participatory budgeting process are Councilmembers Paul Vallone (D–Bayside), 19th district; Mark Weprin; (D–Queens Village), 23rd district; Jimmy Van Bramer (D–Sunnyside), 26th district; Daneek Miller (D–Cambria Heights), 27th district; Karen Koslowitz (D–Forest Hills), 29th district; Donovan Richards (D–Rosedale), 31st district; and Eric Ulrich (R–C–Ozone Park), 32nd district.
Van Bramer, the Council’s Majority Leader, stated, “The expansion of participatory budgeting to 22 districts in the city is a testament to the Council’s commitment to empowering New Yorkers and giving them the ability to decide where their tax dollars are spent.”
Referring to his own district, Van Bramer said: “For the first time in Western Queens, we will give the residents of the 26th district the ability to fund projects that are meaningful to their communities. I am proud to be a part of this historic participatory budgeting. The growth of this inclusive process helps build a better-informed and empowered citizenry, which will make our city’s democracy stronger.
“I look forward to working with my colleagues in the City Council and New Yorkers who will be participating in this process. Together, we will empower our communities and deliver the projects local residents vote to fund in their neighborhoods.”
Vallone stated: “I am pleased to join my Council colleagues and have always planned on carrying out an effective and well-organized participatory budgeting process that engages a wide range of residents of my district. I look forward to engaging and working with my community in the coming months, to have participatory budgeting that is successful and productive.”