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Voting set for area District 19 budget selections

Participatory budgeting is a way of getting residents directly involved in how their money is being spent by the city, with voting scheduled between April 11 and 19 in Districts 19 and 23 in Northeast Queens.

Some members of the City Council — in this case Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) representing District 19 and Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) in District 23 — along with 21 others are allowing their constituents to decide on how to spend $1 million on community improvement projects for such things as parks, schools and libraries.

 Weprin and Vallone have been holding meetings with community volunteers, who have come up with 10 projects each for funding. Anyone who lives in either district and is at least 16 years old can vote, even if they are not eligible in regular elections.

Residents will vote on their top five choices. The top ones will split the money.

“Participatory budgeting is a unique process that empowers the community by giving residents a real say in how money in the district is spent,” Weprin said.

Vallone is excited about the process and hopes to get a good voter turnout. The District 19 projects are:

  • $400,000 for a music studio at Bayside High School;
  • $400,000 upgrades for the PS 169 auditorium for lighting, curtains, a sound system and seating;
  • $90,000 upgrades for technology at PS 159 including SmartBoards and laptops;
  • $216,000 for an expansion and improvements at the Douglaston Library meeting room;
  • $105,000 for three NYPD security cameras in public areas;
  • $375,000 for pathway lighting in Little Bay Park;
  • $300,000 for basketball court renovations at the Bay Terrace Playground;
  • $400,000 for the resurfacing of Little Bay Park roller rink;
  • $300,000 for portico renovations to the Bayside Historical Society’s headquarters in the former Officers Club at Fort Totten; and
  • $160,000 to install countdown clocks on bus stops along the Q12 and Q13 routes to indicate how many stops away the next bus is.

Voting in District 19 will be held at PS 159, 205-01 33 Ave., Bayside, April 13-17, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Vallone’s office, 42-40 Bell Blvd., Suite 507, April 13-17, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Dial-A-Balloon, 15-29 149 St., Whitestone, April 13, 15 and 17, noon to 4 p.m.; Douglaston-Little Neck Library, 249-01 Northern Blvd., April 13 and 16 from 3 to 7:45 p.m. and April 14 and 17, 3-5:45 p.m.; also

Bay Terrace Library, 18-36 Bell Blvd., April 13 from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., April 14 from 1 to 5:45 p.m. and April 17 from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; Poppenhusen Institute, 114-04 14 Road, College Point, April 13 from 3 to 7 p.m. and April 17 from noon to 4 p.m.; and Temple Beth Sholom, 171-39 Northern Blvd., Flushing, April 14 and April 16 from 1 to 8 p.m.

See complete article at Queens Chronicle.