You can help decide how to spend $1 million in your neighborhood.
On Tuesday, Sept. 17, City Council members Margaret Chin and Carlina Rivera are jointly kicking off this year’s round of Participatory Budgeting. The program, now in its eighth year, gives community members a role in spending a portion of the City Council’s budget. In 2019, 33 Council districts are participating.
Between now and October, you can vote on projects that need attention in local schools, parks, libraries, public housing, etc. Only capital projects (facilitated through city agencies) are eligible. You can learn more about how Participatory Budgeting works at a meeting set for Tuesday, Sept. 17 at Henry Street Settlement, 301 Henry St. It begins at 6 p.m.
Chin represents District 1, including most of the Lower East Side, Chinatown, Little Italy, Noho, Soho, the Financial District, the Seaport and Tribeca. Rivera represents District 2, including the East Village, Gramercy. Kips Bay, Murray Hill, Rose Hill and a slice of the Lower East Side below East Houston Street (Masaryk Towers and the Vladeck Houses are in District 2). There’s $1 million available in each district. You can only vote for projects in your own council district.
This will be Council member Chin’s first year in the Participatory Budgeting program. In the past, she has expressed concerns about all constituents having an equal chance to take part in one of the most income-diverse districts in the city. She says the support is now in place to ensure outreach across Lower Manhattan, including multilingual engagement and education in historically isolated communities on the Lower East Side and in two Bridges and Chinatown. Rivera has been in the program previously. You can have a look at the District 2 initiatives supported in the previous funding cycle here.
If you have an idea for your community, click here to submit it online or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can RSVP for the kickoff meeting on Sept. 17 by emailing: email@example.com (Council member Chin’s office) or firstname.lastname@example.org (Council member Rivera’s office). Council staff will also be out in the community, attending tenant meetings and neighborhood events, helping constituents complete funding “idea” cards.
The $1 million allotment for Participatory Budgeting is only a portion of the discretionary funding available from council members. In the past year, for example, Council member Chin’s expense budget was $710,000 and her capital budget was $5 million. $1 million from her capital budget will now be awarded through Participatory Budgeting.