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Participatory Budgeting Kicks Off, Help Decide How to Spend More Than $1.5 Million in District

Near the intersections of Clay, Franklin, and Commercial Streets, where $300,000 went toward safety improvement here in the last round of participatory budgeting (Google Maps).

Sept. 10, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez

Another round of participatory budgeting is in the works for the district, with more than $1.5 million on offer to fund local projects, Council Member Stephen Levin announced last week.

The first step in the process–starting this week–provides residents with the ability to put forward ideas for capital projects that could later be put up for a vote. Practically all City Council districts participate in the participatory budgeting process, with City Council District 33, stretching from Greenpoint down to parts of Cobble Hill, in its seventh round this year.

The process has focused almost entirely on physical infrastructure improvements for public benefit, or capital projects, like revamping parks and new technology for schools. Expense projects like after school programs or bus service expansion, meanwhile, have traditionally been excluded.

This year, however, Levin will be adding $20,000 of expense funding to the process. The funding is separate from the $1.5 million to be allocated for capital funds.

The $20,000 will cover two to four projects under three conditions—that they be implemented by the city or an eligible non-profit, that the money be a one-time disbursement, and that it be used for “new and innovative” programs.

A series of four neighborhood assemblies from Sept. 12 to Oct. 16 have been planned through the district for the public to learn about the process and give project ideas. In addition, residents can also submit ideas for projects online through an interactive map, or through a form set up by Levin’s office.

Some of the projects proposed in the idea collection process will then make it onto the official ballot to be released in spring 2019, where residents ages 11 and up can vote for the projects they want to see funded.

The projects with the most votes will be announced by the end of June 2019 so they can be added to the City Council’s budget for the following year.

Six projects were funded in the last round of participatory budgeting, including bathroom renovations at a local high school, pedestrian improvements at a Greenpoint intersection, and tree plantings in Bed-Stuy.

Meetings will be held at the following places and times:

Sept. 12
6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Brooklyn Historical Society
128 Pierrepont St.

Sept. 20
6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Dupont Senior Center
80 Dupont Street

Oct. 11
7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Independence Community Center
114 Taylor St.

Oct. 16
6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
St. Francis College
180 Remsen St.

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