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Take part in the city’s budget process

TimesLedger Newspapers

I invite the community to participate in an experiment in public participation in the city budget. This year, I am allocating $1 million in capital funds for the community to decide how to spend based on local priority needs.

The people of the 23rd City Council District will meet, discuss neighborhood needs, propose projects and vote on how a portion of their tax dollars are spent. Local projects will be on a ballot and the highest vote getters will be funded with up to $1 million in capital funds.

All of this is happening because I am one of eight Council members who have joined a pilot program called Participatory Budgeting. In September, there will be several neighborhood assemblies at which participants will learn about the city budget, discuss local needs and brainstorm project ideas. Those who are interested in taking an active role in PB will volunteer to be budget delegates.

Delegates will go through an orientation and meet from November to February to transform the community’s initial project ideas into full proposals. From February to March, the delegates will participate in project presentations, at which they will share detailed proposals with the community and receive feedback. By April, eligible projects will be on a ballot and district residents will vote on the projects they want to see funded.

The projects that receive the most votes, up to $1 million, will be in the budget the Council passes in June. PB will give community members a say.

If you want to participate, please attend one of the assemblies in September and contact my office to learn more.

Mark Weprin

City Councilman

(D-Oakland Gardens)

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