The following is a press release from the offices of Councilman David Greenfield:
Councilman David G. Greenfield is inviting community residents to attend a participatory budgeting information session tonight, August 14, at 7 p.m. to find out how they can get involved in this exciting initiative that he is introducing to the district this year. Participatory budgeting aims to give the public more say in how their tax dollars are spent locally by having residents brainstorm, nominate and vote on capital projects they would like to see completed in their neighborhood.
Greenfield will allocate $1 million from the upcoming 2014 New York City budget to fund this effort, and is urging the public to attend tonight’s 7 p.m. information session at P.S. 205, located at 6701 20th Avenue, to find out how they can become charter members for this exciting exercise in open government and democracy. At tonight’s meeting, residents will learn more about how participatory budgeting works and how to get involved. With that in mind, Greenfield is urging anyone who would like to learn more about participatory budgeting to attend this meeting.
“Residents know the types of projects that are needed most in their neighborhood, and participatory budgeting gives them a voice in determining how their tax dollars are spent. I am proud to bring the power directly to the taxpayers and to bring greater transparency to the budgeting process. I hope that people from every part of the district will get involved and make their opinions heard,” said Greenfield, who has followed through on his campaign promise to make the budget process more open and transparent by holding annual workshops for any non-profit and charitable group seeking discretionary funding. He is furthering that effort this year as one of eight Council Members bringing participatory budgeting to their constituents.
In all, 1.3 million New Yorkers, including the approximately 180,000 residing in the 44th Council District, will have the opportunity to take part in participatory budgeting this year, making it the largest such program in the nation. Last year, 6,000 residents in four districts across the city voted on projects such as $150,000 for an E-Tech Campus at a public school Beacon program, $80,000 for new books and equipment at the Kensington public library, $100,000 for senior transportation services and a Meals-on-Wheels delivery van, and $147,000 for equipment for a neighborhood volunteer fire organization. This year, residents in the 44th District, which includes Boro Park, Midwood and Bensonhurst, will have a similar opportunity to identify needs within their neighborhood that could be funded with part of the $1 million in government funds set aside for this effort.
Participatory budgeting will take place over the next eight months or so as meetings are held and ideas are brainstormed and eventually formally nominated. Tonight’s meeting will provide an overview of the process and answers to residents’ questions. Additional meetings will be held over the next two months to begin coming up with ideas and selecting delegates to sit on the formal committee. Delegates will meet in committees over the winter before presenting draft project proposals to the public next spring. Final proposals will be presented to the public in March or April, at which time the entire public will be allowed to vote on which should move forward. The delegates will then work to implement the projects next spring and summer.
“I’m very excited to see what types of projects residents come up with for their neighborhoods. This is a great chance for every member of the public to get involved and take an active role in their community. I hope to meet and work with many constituents on this exciting initiative over the next few months,” added Greenfield.
Tonight’s information session will be held in P.S. 205, located at 6701 20th Avenue in Bensonhurst, starting at 7 p.m. For more information, call Greenfield’s district office at (718) 853-2704 or visit pbnyc.org.