He’ll let residents decide how to spend $1 million
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
When he was a teacher at New Utrecht High School in Bensonhurst, Mark Treyger liked to see class participation. Now that he’s a councilman, he still likes it when people participate.
Treyger (D-Coney Island-Gravesend-Bensonhurst) announced that he has decided to have his council district become part of the city’s participatory budgeting process.
Under participatory budgeting, average citizens get to vote on how to spend city money on capital projects in their home districts. According to the participatory budgeting website, the process came to New York City in 2011 through an initiative by council members Melissa Mark-Viverito, Brad Lander, Jumaane Williams and Eric Ulrich. The effort receives technical assistance from The Participatory Budgeting Project and the organization Community Voices Heard.
In the most recent round, 10 council districts took part in participatory budgeting.
In Treyger’s district, residents will get to propose projects and then decide on how to spend $1 million of the councilman’s capital funding allocation. Upgrading parks, schools, libraries, and infrastructure are among the ideas to be considered. The $1 million can be divided up among several projects.
During the process, residents will have the opportunity to attend neighborhood assemblies and brainstorm to come up with suggestions on improving their block or neighborhood.
The meetings will all take place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and are scheduled for the following dates and locations: Monday, June 9, at PS 329 (2929 W. 30th Street); Thursday, June 12, at John Dewey High School (50 Avenue X); Monday, June 16, at P.S. 216 (350 Avenue X); and Thursday, June 19 at Saint Athanasius Catholic Church (2201 Bay Parkway).
After the meetings take place, resident volunteers will work with Treyger’s staff and representatives of various city agencies to determine which projects are feasible and eligible for funding under city law.
“This is a historic chance for residents to really get involved in local government and have a key role in deciding how their tax dollars are reinvested in the community. I am very proud to provide this great opportunity for community involvement and to make sure that every resident has a voice in the budgeting process,” Treyger said.
Treyger said residents 14 and older can take part in upcoming assemblies and suggest ideas for the final ballot, and everyone 16 and older can vote on their favorite projects.
The participatory budgeting process offers residents a chance to help shape the city budget, Treyger said. The process is also open to anyone who works, owns a business or attends school in the district or has children who attend school in the district. For more information, visit pbnyc.org or contact Jeannine Cherichetti in Treyger’s district office at 718-307-7151.