Friday, September 16, 2011
Will participatory budgeting be fair?
From the NY Times:
Four City Council members, intrigued by experiments begun in Brazil to let ordinary citizens determine how government uses tax dollars, say they plan to allow their constituents to decide how $4 million is spent next year.
Through a process known as participatory budgeting, constituents in each of the four Council districts will be enlisted to develop and choose among proposals for local capital projects like street repairs, new parks and public artworks. The money — $1 million in each district — will come out of the council members’ discretionary funds. (Among the city’s Council districts, discretionary funds range in size from $1.5 million to $6 million.)
Three Democrats, Brad Lander and Jumaane D. Williams of Brooklyn, and Melissa Mark-Viverito of Manhattan, and one Republican, Eric Ulrich of Queens, are taking part.
The process will begin this fall, with neighborhood assemblies at which constituents can suggest needs in their communities and ideas for projects.
The most active volunteers will meet over the fall and winter to discuss the suggested ideas, determine their costs and then present the options to the public; residents at least 18 years old will then cast ballots on which projects they want to see financed. Those projects will then become part of the city’s 2013 capital budget.
Is this legit or just another tweeding effort? "The most active volunteers" come up with the list? Who determines who they are?