2015-10-28 / Political Page

Constantinides Holds Participatory Budgeting Meetings

Ideas brainstormed at Councilman Costa Constantinides’ Participatory Budgeting assemblies included bicycle parking, increased lighting in parks, ventilation upgrades in schools, and upgrades to playgrounds. Constantinides has set aside $1.5 million of his capital discretionary budget for Participatory Budgeting.

Nearly 400 residents attended four neighborhood assemblies and two informal idea collection sessions, held in September and October throughout Astoria and Jackson Heights. Ideas were also collected online at ideas.pbnyc.org. Over 300 project ideas were suggested and nearly 100 residents volunteered to continue with the process as budget delegates.

“Participatory budgeting is a great way to get the pulse of the community and see where everyone believes city dollars and resources should be spent,” said Constantinides. “The program not only encourages collaboration between residents but helps to find creative solutions to neighborhood needs. This also provides a real chance for anyone who wants to have a voice in the decision-making process to get involved. I am proud that we’ve had such success and I thank everyone who has attended and volunteered.”

Suggested project ideas included funding for air-conditioning electrical upgrades and bathroom upgrades at Long Island City HS. Residents also suggested upgrades at parks including increased lighting at Astoria Park and improving the play equipment at Hoyt Playground. Ideas for improving our streets included bike racks near the Broadway subway station and security cameras across the district.

Participatory Budgeting brings the city budget process directly to residents, who will be able to vote on how to spend that $1.5 million on capital projects within the district. The process involves a series of meetings that feed into the city’s annual budget cycle. Community members brainstormed capital project ideas. Budget Delegate volunteers will break into issue-specific groups that will transform the list of ideas into a ballot of several fully-formed project proposals with details and costs. In spring 2016, residents will vote on which projects they want to see funded. Projects that get the most votes and are within the funds available will be submitted to the City Council for approval. For more information on this program, visit pbnyc.org.

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