Participatory Budgeting (PB): Is a grassroots budgeting process that gives members of the community a chance to vote on how their tax

dollars are spent. This outline of the process is based on the PB process across New York City. How it works: Six step process: o Neighborhood Assemblies (Community brainstorming ideas) o Delegate Orientations o Delegate Meetings (Community refines project ideas with PB delegates) o Project Expos o Community Vote o Implementation and monitoring Different categories: Schools and Education, Housing, Parks & Recreation, Public Health and Environment, Community Facilities, Public Safety, Transit, Streets and Sidewalk.


History: - The Brazilian city of Porto Alegre started the first full PB process in 1989, for the municipal budget. In Porto Alegre, as many as 50,000 people have participated each year, to decide as much as 20% of the city budget. - PB has spread to over 1,500 cities in Latin America, North America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. - It is also in select cities in the United States and Canada; including Toronto, Montreal, Guelph, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, New York City, and Vallejo (California) - Still a pilot program in NYC - In New York City it only applies to capital funding projects which mean infrastructure. Ex. Fixing parks, improvements to schools, etc. “bricks and mortar” projects - Started with four council members in 2011. Brad Lander, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Eric Ulrich, and Jumaane D. Williams - This year (2014) there is $14 million in funds between nine council districts this year Other info - People as young as 16 can vote, ex-felons can vote - Expense budget for FY 2014 in NYC was $71.3 billion ($46 million expense discretionary funds) - Capital budget for FY 2014 in NYC was $15.5 billion ($547 million in capital discretionary funds) - PB in 2013 was .063% of the NYC capital budget - Year 1 nearly 6,000 voters (4 districts) year 2 just over 13,000 voters (8 districts) - Budgeting generally a closed door process (slush fund)

Examples of winners: - A van that teaches kids how to cook in East Harlem - 100 tress planted in Brooklyn - Solar-Powered Greenhouse in East Harlem - Technology upgrades for elementary and middle schools across the city - Kayak and Canoe launches in Queens - Brooklyn Neighbors Composting near Gowanus Canal Positives: - “Real” Democracy, the power of the people to decide where some of their tax dollars go. (Grass roots democracy) - Diverse inclusion (age, class, race, ethnicity, gender) - Strengthen communities - Good project ideas, multiple projects are victorious - Increases transparency in government - Projects that are not funded through PB can still be funded by the rest of the members capital budget Negatives: - Stacking of the ballot - Low participation - Slow implementation process - Only $1 million dollars Potential for change: - Increase participation in government - Increase civic engagement - Encourage participation from a young age (16) - Good projects for the community What does the future hold for PB in New York City: - Good election results, Bill de Blasio and Melissa Mark-Viverito big supporters - PB might be scaled up o It may be instituted citywide o The Mayor may provide matching funds to the individual council person o More than $1 million allotment from each Council person - 22 Council members have already committed for next years process - In California the process is not just for capital funding, some after school programs are being funded

-Info courtesy of and