Sunset Park

Menchaca to constituents: You decide how to spend $2 million

September 9, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Councilmember Carlos Menchaca also participated in the grass-roots budget process last year. Eagle file photo by Paula Katinas
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Residents of Sunset Park and Red Hook will have a chance to decide how to spend approximately $2 million to be set aside from the next city budget, thanks to the Participatory Budget Process, which their councilman is an active proponent.

Councilmember Carlos Menchaca (D-Sunset Park-Red Hook) announced that he is holding six neighborhood assemblies in September and October to allow residents to learn more about budget projects such as streetlight repairs, technology upgrades at schools and libraries, and park improvements that are proposed by residents, civic organizations and others.

The budget funds will come out of Menchaca’s discretionary budget. Each City Council member receives a discretionary budget allotment to distribute as he or she wishes.

The community will be voting on which projects to fund at a later date. The winning projects will be written into the city’s next budget.

It is all part of the Participatory Budgeting process, in which the city allows everyday citizens to decide on how a portion of the budget is spent.

In the last round of Participatory Budgeting, in 2014-2015, 51,000 New Yorkers cast ballots in dozens of  council districts to decide on a total of $32 million in budget funds, according to the website

Twenty-seven council members are taking part in the 2015-2016 Participatory Budgeting process.

Menchaca, who was elected to his council seat in November of 2013, took part in the Participatory Budget process in his freshman year in the council.

“Last cycle, with over 6,000 ballots cast – the highest in the city – we spoke boldly about our priorities and our concerns, stronger schools, better infrastructure and healthier parks,” Mehchaca wrote in an open letter to his constituents last week inviting residents to attend the Neighborhood Assemblies.

The first Neighborhood Assembly in Menchaca’s district will take place on Sept. 10. The meeting will be held at the Red Hook Library, Seven Wolcott St., from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

The other Red Hook meetings are scheduled for Sept. 17 at the Miccio Community Center, 110 West 9th Street, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.; and on Sept. 22 at the Red Hook Justice Center, 88 Visitation Place, from 6 to 8 p.m.

The three Sunset Park Neighborhood Assemblies will take place on Sept. 20 at the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual, 526 59th St., from noon to 2 p.m. ; Sept. 23, at Community Board Seven, 4201 Fourth Ave., from 6:30 to 8 p.m.; and on Oct. 3, at the Sunset Park Recreation Center, Seventh Avenue and 43rd Street, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

The Sept. 20 meeting will be conducted in Spanish to accommodate Sunset Park’s large Latino population. The Oct. 3 session will be conducted in Chinese in deference to the neighborhood’s large and growing Asian community.

Menchaca noted that many of the budget ballots cast last year were cast by non-English speaking residents.

“We connected with immigrants, young people, seniors, and non-English speakers in a way that was historic and that represented the true character of our community,” Menchaca wrote. “This year, we’re going to be even better!”

For more information, call Menchaca’s office at 718-439-9012.

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