Add Mark Treyger to the handful of New York City Council members to embrace participatory budgeting, a progressive initiative that allows constituents to vote on allocating $1 million on local projects.
Treyger reps announced at civic meetings last month that his office was working on rolling it out, and yesterday his office officially announced that workshops to develop project ideas will begin as soon as next week.
“This is a historic chance for residents to really get involved in local government and have a key role in deciding how their tax dollars are reinvested in the community,” said Treyger in a press release. “I am very excited to hear what ideas residents have to improve the quality of life in Bensonhurst, Gravesend, Coney Island and Sea Gate, so I encourage everyone to attend an upcoming assembly and get involved in this great initiative.”
Last year, just 10 of the 51-member City Council used participatory budgeting to steer funds within their district. Only two others in Southern Brooklyn employ participatory budgeting, Jumaane Williams of Flatbush (who helped spearhead the initiative in 2011), and David Greenfield of Borough Park and Bensonhurst.
The process gives residents as young as 14 years old the chance to propose ideas including upgrading parks, schools and libraries, or programming and services that will benefit the community. Neighbors attend local workshops to brainstorm and suggest their ideas, and volunteers work with the councilmember and city agencies to determine feasibility of the proposals.
Once a final list has been created, residents 16 years old and up have several days to stop by the elected officials’ offices or other designated locations to fill out a ballot and cast their vote for funding. The process is open to anyone who lives, works, owns a business, attends school or has kids that attend school in the district – so it’s not just residents.
The schedule for Treyger’s four workshops, where the first ideas will be proposed, is as follows:
- Monday, June 9 at P.S. 329 (2929 W. 30th Street);
- Thursday, June 12 at John Dewey High School (50 Avenue X);
- Monday, June 16 at P.S. 216 (350 Avenue X);
- Thursday, June 19th at St. Athanasius Church, 2201 Bay Parkway.
All meetings take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.