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Queens Chronicle

Councilman to start participatory budgeting

Voting to be for 2015-16 fiscal year

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Posted: Thursday, April 10, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 10:47 am, Fri Apr 11, 2014.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer plans to introduce participatory budgeting for the 2015-16 fiscal year for his constituents in Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City.

The process will allow the residents to have somewhat of a say on how $1 million in city funds will be spent in the district.

“I am proud to announce we will soon initiate participatory budgeting in the 26th Council District,” Van Bramer said. “The community driven process will allow residents of the district to discuss and develop proposals they feel are important to their community.”

The participatory budgeting program — first used in 2010 by several Council members, including now-Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan) — allows constituents to determine where to allocate funds for capital projects in the district.

Voting can be for spending funds on improving parks, making streets safer, renovating schools and more.

The process is said to promote transparency within a Council member’s office and allow residents to have more of a say in how money flows in their district.

A series of town hall meetings and workshops where ideas can be presented to the community will be held and votes will be scheduled to determine whether an item is worth funding.

Reportedly, Van Bramer has said he is reluctant to allow the community to vote on all of the funds and is concerned that certain groups might be overlooked but said he will monitor how it works and make changes if necessary.

However, in his statement to the Chronicle, Van Bramer seemed optimistic about bringing participatory budgeting to his district.

“I look forward to beginning this inclusive process and working with the community to allow more than $1 million in capital funding to the project they believe in,” Van Bramer said.

Welcome to the discussion.