September 21, by Nathaly Pesantez
Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer announced the start of the fourth round of participatory budgeting on Tuesday, a process where the community can bring forth ideas on how to spend over $1 million for neighborhood improvements within Council District 26, which primarily covers Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City.
A series of seven neighborhood assemblies will take place from Sept. 25 through Oct. 12, where attendees can learn about the budgeting process and propose capital project ideas to be added on the official ballot. Residents will then vote on the ballot next year.
“When neighbors from all walks of life come together to brainstorm ideas to improve their community, good things happen,” Councilman Van Bramer said.
More than 5,000 people voted in the last round of participatory budgeting for District 26, and voters decided to allocate approximately $1.8 million toward schools for items such as laptops, new bathrooms and fountains. Money was also allocated for new bus countdown clocks around the district.
The participatory budgeting process takes about nine months from start to finish, and begins with community residents pitching ideas through brainstorming sessions. Volunteer delegates then comb through the ideas and put together a proposal for projects, which anyone over the age of 14 in the community can vote on in the spring. The projects with the most votes for this round will be announced by the end of June 2018, before City Council passes the budget for the following year. The projects will be included in the budget for 2019, where they will receive funding allocated by Van Bramer.
Ideas eligible for submission must be for “capital” projects, meaning physical infrastructure improvements for public benefit, like updates on parks or new technology for schools. “Expense” projects like after-school programs or expanding bus service are not eligible for submission.
An online map where district residents can pin ideas for projects is also available. The deadline to submit ideas is Oct. 13, 2017.
Meetings will be held at the following dates and times:
· Sunnyside Library on Monday, September 25 at 6:30PM
o 43-06 Greenpoint Avenue, Long Island City
· Jacob A. Riis Settlement House on Wednesday, September 27 at 6:30PM
o Queensbridge Houses, 10-25, 41st Avenue, Long Island City
· Broadway Library on Monday, October 2 at 6:00PM
o 40-20 Broadway, Long Island City
· Ravenswood Community Center on Tuesday, October 3 at 6:30PM
o Ravenswood Houses, 35-40 21st Street, Long Island City
· Woodside Community Center on Wednesday, October 4 at 6:30PM
o Woodside Houses, 50-19 Broadway, Woodside
· Woodside Library on Tuesday, October 10 at 6:30PM
o 54-22 Skillman Avenue, Woodside
· MoMA PS1 on Thursday, October 12 at 6:30PM
o 22-25 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City