2012-10-26 / Top Stories

Participatory Budget Process Begins For Ulrich’s District

By Miriam Rosenberg


100 Precinct Community Council president Danny Ruscillo and Rockaway resident Joe Hartigan (both rear) listen as the meeting gets underway. 100 Precinct Community Council president Danny Ruscillo and Rockaway resident Joe Hartigan (both rear) listen as the meeting gets underway. Local residents gathered on October 18 to begin the process of deciding how $1 million of City Councilman Eric Ulrich’s discretionary funds will be spent.

For the second year in a row, Ulrich will allow residents of his district to make the fiscal decisions as part of his participatory budget process for fiscal year 2014.

The residents, all volunteers, met at the Knights of Columbus to begin the long process that will end with a community vote early next year.

The participatory budgeting process asks residents of Ulrich’s district to recommend $1 million in capital projects for funding.

During the process, residents of his district will, through a series of meetings, make suggestions, whittle them down and then vote on which projects receive funding.


Each group presented their top ideas to those assembled. Ulrich’s chief of staff, Rudy S. Giuliani, helps out as a community member discusses what her breakout group determined to be the top three needs for Rockaway – ramps at subway stations, a performing arts center, and gym equipment for the new Y. Each group presented their top ideas to those assembled. Ulrich’s chief of staff, Rudy S. Giuliani, helps out as a community member discusses what her breakout group determined to be the top three needs for Rockaway – ramps at subway stations, a performing arts center, and gym equipment for the new Y. Ulrich’s chief of staff, Rudy S. Giuliani, walked residents through what they could expect as they take part over the next few months.

Joining him was Sondra Youdelman, the executive director of Community Voices Heard, the group running the participatory budgeting process.

These neighborhood meetings to identify community needs and select delegates will be followed by delegate meetings to develop spending proposals.

In February the proposals will be presented to the community for feedback and in March a community vote will decide which projects will be funded.


First came the brainstorming session, then each member of the group voted on which of their group’s ideas they liked best. First came the brainstorming session, then each member of the group voted on which of their group’s ideas they liked best. The nine projects funded in the Rockaway area of Ulrich’s district last year include technology upgrades at PS 47, PS 317/MS318 and PS 114; oxygen refill systems for volunteer fire departments; a water pump and four pagers for volunteer fire departments; six Argus security cameras in the 100 Precinct and a library renovation at the Peninsula Library.

Some of the top requests, so far, for this 2014 budget include items that didn’t make it through the final voting last year.

They include upgrades at different playgrounds, more mopi mats on the beach, and improvements at the Rockaway Dog Run.

Other ideas are ATV vehicles for the NYPD and additional Argus security cameras to be installed in the community.

This was the first of three neighborhood meetings that will take place.


Giuliani listens as Community Board 14 chair Delores Orr and her group debate ideas. Giuliani listens as Community Board 14 chair Delores Orr and her group debate ideas. The second and third neighborhood meetings took place this week at PS 114 on October 23 and on October 25 at the VFW Hall in Broad Channel. This year Ulrich is one of eight city council members who are taking part in the participatory budget process.



John Cori (left), a Rockaway Beach resident and founder of the beach advocacy group Friends of Rockaway Beach, explains some of the process to newcomers. John Cori (left), a Rockaway Beach resident and founder of the beach advocacy group Friends of Rockaway Beach, explains some of the process to newcomers.

During the meeting resident participants broke up into groups to brainstorm ideas. Sondra Youdelman (right) of Community Voices Heard, leads one such group. During the meeting resident participants broke up into groups to brainstorm ideas. Sondra Youdelman (right) of Community Voices Heard, leads one such group.

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