Participatory Budgeting (PB) is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. The process began in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 1989. Today, there are more than 3,000 participatory budgeting processes around the world, most at the municipal level.
What is PBNYC?
In 2011, four New York City Council Members – Brad Lander, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Eric Ulrich, and Jumaane D. Williams – launched a PB process to allow residents to allocate part of their capital discretionary funds. The process has grown to include a majority of Council Members in the New York City Council, giving community member’s real decision-making over more than $35 million in taxpayer money.
This year in New York City, 33 Council Members are asking residents how to spend at least $35 million in capital funding. PBNYC enables New York City residents to propose and vote on projects in their City Council districts. Projects that receive the most votes during a nine-day Vote Week are adopted in the City’s fiscal year budget and implemented by city agencies.
PBNYC funds physical infrastructure projects that benefit the public, cost at least $50,000 and have a lifespan of at least 5 years. Local improvements to schools, parks, libraries, public housing, streets and other public spaces can be funded through PBNYC!