Ulrich’s Participatory Budgeting Process Comes To An End
Councilmember Eric Ulrich, along with local residents and representatives of the Participatory Budgeting Project and Community Voices Heard, announced the results of the pilot Participatory Budgeting project in Council District 32. Residents of Broad Channel and the Rockaways cast their votes last week (March 25-31) in a pilot project to decide how $1 million in capital funds will be spent in the district for Fiscal Year 2013.
Ulrich announced that nine projects, totaling $1,372,000, will be funded this year as a result of the vote, in which 1,639 residents of Broad Channel and the Rockaways took part. Ulrich was pleased with the outcome of the process.
“It’s safe to say the results exceeded everyone’s expectation,” he said. “It was an opportunity to engage my constituents and give people a say on how their money was spent. And now they had a direct say.”
According to numbers provided by Community Voices Heard, 80 percent of the 1,639 voters lived in Rockaway or Broad Channel for at least eight years with more than half (60 percent) living here for atleast15 years. There were seven other projects considered that did not receive enough votes to be funded under the participatory budgeting allocation. Those projects, Ulrich did point out, still have a chance to be funded through discretionary funding in the next City Council budget. Some projects not making the cut, with around 300 votes each, were playground restorations, shade structures in Broad Channel and on the boardwalk and additional trash receptacles along the boardwalk and beach.
Participatory Budgeting in New York City is a pilot project which began last fall, in which Ulrich and three other councilmembers pledged to allocate $1 million in capital funds for the fiscal year 2013, as determined by the public. Neighborhood Assemblies, held in late 2011, were attended by several hundred local residents, and generated hundreds of project ideas. Volunteer “budget delegates” researched the project ideas and met in committees, to determine which projects were feasible, and would best serve the needs of the community.