Last Wednesday night, the first Participatory Budgeting Neighborhood Assembly in the 33rd District took place at the Taylor-Wythe Houses in South Williamsburg. About 40 community members discussed ideas for how they would spend $1 million of funding provided by Councilmember Stephen Levin. Read more about PB here!
From now through November, these Neighborhood Assembly meetings will take place all over the 33rd District, shown in the graphic below (via Gotham Gazette). Anyone who is interested in getting involved can participate in these public meetings.
The assembly begins with an explanation of participatory budgeting, and what kind of projects are eligible for funding. This year, PB funding is only available for capital projects (meaning they need to be for physical things that serve a public purpose, have a useful life of at least five years, and be on City-owned property, and cost between $35,000 and $1m, noting that small items may be bundled together to reach the $35,000 threshold).
After the explanation, participants divide up into small, facilitated groups, to discuss their ideas for how the money should be spent. Ideas generated at Wednesday’s meeting included new playground equipment for local housing developments, lighting at Roberto Clemente Park, laptops for afterschool programs at local schools, and much, much more!
In the next phase, anyone who is 14 or over and lives in the district, works in the district, goes to school in the district, or has a child who goes to school in the district can choose to become a Budget Delegate. Budget Delegates will take the list of ideas generated at the Neighborhood Assemblies, and work on creating a short list of fundable project ideas. This involves working directly with New York City agencies, such as the Department of Parks and Recreation, or the New York City Housing Authority.
In early 2013, there will be an Expo, in which the Budget Delegates will present the final project ideas. In March/April 2013, anyone who lives in the district and is at least 16 years old will be invited to vote on projects. The top projects up to $1 million total will be funded!
Stay tuned for info about more upcoming Neighborhood Assemblies in Williamsburg & Greenpoint!