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Tell your NYC councilmember how to spend a million dollars

Participatory budgeting kicks off this week; From showers for the homeless to a picnic grove in McCarren Park

March 24, 2017 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
In Participatory Budgeting voting taking place this week, residents in Councilmember Stephen Levin’s 33rd District will be choosing to fund projects including building a picnic grove in McCarren Park and getting lockers for students attending M.S. 8 on Johnson Street in Downtown Brooklyn, shown above. Photo by Mary Frost
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The sixth annual Participatory Budgeting (PB) Week has kicked off, and this year the City Council has launched digital voting, which means that you can now vote for projects in your district online or in-person at any PBNYC vote site.

In participatory budgeting, residents directly decide how to spend part of the city’s budget to improve their neighborhoods’ parks, schools, libraries and streets.

The PB process has been called “grassroots democracy at its best,” because who better knows the needs of a community than the people who live there?

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Voting runs from March 25 to April 2. Residents can vote for as many as five of their favorite project proposals. Each district is dedicating at least a million dollars to fund projects, and each participating councilmember guarantees funding for the three proposals that tally the most votes.

This year, 31 councilmembers are participating, ten in Brooklyn. The ideas for the projects were submitted by residents earlier this year.

In Brad Lander’s District 39, (Cobble Hill, Gowanus, Park Slope, Kensington), for example, voters might choose to spend the money on a mobile shower for the CHiPS soup kitchen on Fourth Avenue, fixing a dog run or installing an air conditioner in P.S. 230’s sweltering cafeteria, among other options.

In Carlos Menchaca’s District 38, which includes Sunset Park and Red Hook, residents will be choosing between projects ranging from upgrading the wiring at the M.S. 821/136 school gym, resurfacing the handball courts in Sunset Park or fixing the bathrooms at P.S. 15, among others.

In Stephen Levin’s District 33 (Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Brooklyn Heights, Downtown) voters will be deciding whether to fund projects that include helping 165 students on the autism spectrum get new laptops, building a picnic grove in McCarren Park, implementing traffic calming measures at Atlantic and Third avenues, getting lockers for students attending M.S. 8 in Downtown Brooklyn or more.

In order to vote, you must live in a participating Council District and be at least 14 years old.

Each participating councilmember’s PB page has a list of their district’s vote sites.

 


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