HOW WOULD YOU SPEND $1 MILLION?
Participatory budgeting: Real money. Real power. Real projects!
To more closely involve the community in how city capital funds are spent on the North Shore, I have brought participatory budgeting to Staten Island! This is a democratic process in which local residents directly decide how to spend $1 million of discretionary capital funds.
2019-2020 PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING
Though the participatory budgeting process was suspended due to the COVID pandemic, Council Member Debi Rose allocated $750,000 in capital discretionary funds to five projects generated by North Shore residents as part of Participatory Budgeting.
With Participatory Budgeting, residents submit ideas for capital projects during several months of community engagement both online and at in-person events. Those ideas are refined by volunteer delegates in consultation with city agencies. Generally, they are put on a ballot in April for all North Shore residents to directly decide over a 10-day period which projects are funded in the budget. This year, due to the pandemic, voting was suspended.
“I know our delegates put a lot of work into this process, presenting several projects to improve education, parks, public safety and more” said Council Member Debi Rose. “Ultimately, these are taxpayer funds, and so I thought one of the best ways to allocate this money would be to fund projects submitted by residents themselves.”
The Participatory Budgeting projects that received funding in the Fiscal Year 2021 include the following:
Renovation of outdoor basketball court at the Richmond Terrace Houses, $320,000
Security cameras at Tompkinsville Park and Nicholas Estates, $144,000
Pure Water Filtration System at PS 45, $56,000
Upgraded technology at Curtis High School, PS 19 and PS 68, $150,000*
Trail Restoration at Jones Woods Park, $80,000
"As a first time delegate in the participatory budgeting process, I got to see close up how important community input is to council members," said Neil Anastasio, who also serves as president of the Forest Regional Residents' Civic Association. "We had the opportunity to review dozens of projects that were all very worthy in our greater community. Out of that review, several projects were funded and I was able to successfully advocate for my neighborhood projects."
*The technology funds are part of nearly $1 million of Council Member Debi Rose's allocations to North Shore schools.
Results from 2018-2019
• Mobile STEM labs for PS 78, PS 20, Port Richmond HS, PS 18, PS16, PS 22, as well as a Disaster Preparedness Package for PS 22—$435,000.
• Real-time passenger bus arrival signs at approximately 6 to 7 locations on the North Shore—$200,000.
• Basketball court at Faber Park as part of the upcoming renovation of Faber Park—$300,000 toward a $1.24 million project.
Any North Shore resident who is interested in serving as a delegate is encouraged to fill out this form to receive more information. Delegates volunteer a few hours each week until the spring to work on committees and review ideas submitted by neighbors and then work with city agencies to turn these ideas into ballot proposals.
Results from 2017-2018
The people have spoken! The nearly 2,000 North Shore residents who cast ballots to decide how $1 million of city capital funds will be spent on the North Shore have chosen the following THREE projects:
Advanced School Learning Upgrades—installation and replacing MacBooks, laptop carts and printers at PS 16, PS 19, PS 44, PS 57, PS 74, IS 49 and Curtis High School.
North Shore District Libraries Technology Upgrade—laptops, kiosk, printers, new phone system, network equipment and WiFi upgrades at ALL North Shore Libraries: Port Richmond, St. George, West New Brighton, Stapleton and Mariners Harbor.
Renovation to the Mariners Harbor basketball court including repaving the court, new basketball post, hoops, backboards and bleachers
Participatory Budgeting is democracy in action. It works best when we all participate.
For more on how Participatory Budgeting works citywide, check out the City Council's Participatory Budgeting site.