Scaling Up Participatory Budgeting


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  • Thanks for coming to our Scaling up Participatory Budgeting in NYC Session.
    We have an exciting two hours planned for the session.
    Our goals today are…(read through goals on the slide)
    Before we jump in, let’s see what the experience of people in the room is…(go through ice breaker questions)
  • Great! Looks like we have a good group and we’re ready to go.
    Here’s an overview of the agenda for the session.
    We’ll start with…(read off #2 and go through the agenda points quickly)
    We’re aiming to both give you an opportunity today to see what Participatory Budgeting is about and get the feel of an actual Neighborhood Assembly AND we’re also hoping you’ll help us think through ways to get PB to a bigger scale here in NYC.
  • So, let’s put this all in context first.
    A little information about the City Budget…
  • Money in the City Budget falls into two different categories…mandatory spending and discretionary spending.
    Recent New York Times article quoted…
    The city’s roughly $70 billion budget is a beast that slouches along, mostly blithe to the commands of mayors and legislators. About 75 percent is mandated or required by contract — things like social services, pension and fringe benefits, debt service, and much of what is spent on education. An additional 15 percent is essentially untouchable: the services of the Police, Fire and Sanitation Departments.
  • And, there are even two budgets in the city…a Capital Budget and and Expense Budget.
    The capital budget to infrastructure (bricks and mortar).
    The expense budget includes programs (people and services).
  • So, what’s Participatory Budgeting?
    It’s a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget.
    Typically it is done with a part of a budget - a portion of the discretionary budget that is up for grabs.
  • We’ll pause for a minute here and show you a short video to explain how it works…
  • PBNYC started in NYC as a process at the level of the City Council Districts. It began in 2011 in 4 council districts. Now we’re up to 9 districts, with two new districts joining this year. Each council member has committed at least $1 million to PB, and one (newly elected Council Member Carlos Menchaca) has committed at least $2 million. So in the nine districts around $12 million total will be decided through this process.
  • How does PB work?
    It starts at Neighborhood assemblies, where the community identifies their needs and initial project ideas. At the assemblies, we also ask for some people to volunteer to serve as budget delegates.
    Over the next few months, the Budget Delegates will turn the initial ideas into concrete proposals, with help from city agencies and Council Member staff.
    In February and March, there are science-fair format Project Expos where the budget delegates get feedback on their proposals from the larger community.
    After the budget delegates revise the projects one last time, they present the proposals to the whole district at a big public vote in late March or early April. At this vote, you will choose which projects you want for the district. The projects that get the most votes will be submitted to the City.
    After the vote, we’ll monitor the proposals’ progress, to make sure they’re being implemented properly.
  • 1. Open up Government: Allow residents a greater role in budgeting decisions, and inspire increased transparency in New York City government.
    2. Expand Civic Engagement: Engage more people in politics and the community, especially young people, people of color, immigrants, low-income people, the formerly incarcerated, and other marginalized groups.
    3. Develop New Community Leaders: Build the skills, knowledge, and capacity of community members.
    4. Build Community: Inspire people to more deeply engage in their communities, and to create new networks and organizations.
    5. Make Public Spending More Equitable: Generate spending decisions that are fairer and reflect the entire community’s needs, so resources go where they are needed most.
  • PBNYC’s pilot two years were a big success.
  • PBNYC’s pilot two years were a big success.
  • PBNYC’s pilot two years were a big success. And, we’re very excited about what we accomplished.
    $12 million is only a small part of the City Budget
    There’s a lot more than City Council Discretionary Funds
    Let’s imagine this process a bit bigger and broader…
  • PBNYC’s pilot two years were a big success.
  • PBNYC’s pilot two years were a big success.
  • PBNYC’s pilot two years were a big success.
    Office of Civic Engagement could :
    ** Provide support for PB processes & grassroots governance initiatives in general
    ** Create citizen assemblies to decide a few key high profile issues (e.g. electoral reform, safety, disconnected youth engagement)
    ** Add in other engagement initiatives like incorporating non-citizen voting, encouraging more citizen participation in other venues (school councils, community policing, etc.), increasing voter turnout
  • Scaling Up Participatory Budgeting

    1. 1. Scaling up Participatory Budgeting as a Tool for Direct Democracy in NYC You decide how to spend millions of dollars from the city budget!
    2. 2. Assembly GoalsAgenda  Get to know our neighbors  Learn about the City budget process, participatory budgeting, and our city  Identify capital and expense project ideas for our city  Gain knowledge about ideas for how Participatory Budgeting could scale up in NYC under a new administration
    3. 3. Assembly Agenda 1. Welcome and Icebreaker 2. Introduction to the City Budget & Participatory Budgeting (Including a video!) 3. Questions & Answers 4. Breakout groups to brainstorm project ideas 5. Report-backs 6. Participatory Budgeting Expansion: What It’ll Take & What It Can Be
    4. 4. City Budget Basics  City Budget runs on a Fiscal Year from July 1st to June 30th  This year’s budget was $70 Billion in Expense $10 Billion in Capital  Generally the Mayor issues a budget and the Council approves it
    5. 5. Mandatory and Discretionary Spending  Mandatory Spending = > 80% money that has to be spent in a particular way (e.g. committed contracts, entitlement programs, debt service, etc.)  Discretionary Spending = ~ 10% money that can be spent however decided on a yearly basis based on need/ interest
    6. 6. Capital and Expense Budgets There are two different City budgets…
    7. 7. What is Participatory Budgeting? A democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget
    8. 8. Participatory Budgeting Video
    9. 9. This Cycle PBNYC Districts CD8: Melissa Mark-Viverito (D) CD8: Melissa Mark-Viverito (D) CD33: Stephen Levin (D) CD33: Stephen Levin (D) CD39: Brad Lander (D) CD39: Brad Lander (D) $12 million $12 million reaching reaching 1.5 million 1.5 million residents residents CD23: Mark Weprin (D) CD23: Mark Weprin (D) CD38: Carlos Menchaca (D) CD38: Carlos Menchaca (D) CD31: Donovan CD31: Donovan Richards (D) Richards (D) CD44: David Greenfield (D) CD44: David Greenfield (D) CD45: Jumaane D. Williams (D) CD45: Jumaane D. Williams (D) CD32: Eric Ulrich (R) CD32: Eric Ulrich (R)
    10. 10. How does PB work in NYC? 5. Implementation & Monitoring 2. Delegate Meetings (Nov-Mar) of projects 4. Community Vote (Mar-Apr) vote on projects develop proposals 3. Project Expos (Mar) share proposals and get community feedback
    11. 11. Why PB in NYC? Our Goals: 1. Open Up Government 2. Expand Civic Engagement 3. Develop New Community Leaders 4. Build Community 5. Make Public Spending More Equitable
    12. 12. Last Cycle PBNYC Outcomes  14,000 people participated in the 8 districts  1,600 residents identified 1,700 project ideas  275+ budget delegates developed 122 full project proposals  13,000 voters chose 45 winning projects totaling $10 million
    13. 13. Who Participated?  New Change Agents  50% of people had not previously worked for community change  Diverse Constituency  60% women  38% people of color  25% born outside of the US  Higher rates than regular elections  Among low-income people and POC
    14. 14. Demonstration Exercise WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH $100 MILLION DOLLARS?
    15. 15. Sample Discretionary Projects Eligible projects must cost: $35,000 $100 million CAPITAL EXAMPLES EXPENSE EXAMPLES Building a library branch Building a community center Renovating a school Revamping a park Subsidized childcare slots More teachers Job Corps slots After school programs
    16. 16. Some Sample Costs of Items • • • • • • • Playground Improvements Laptops for 8 schools Solar-powered greenhouse Park Enhancement Dog Run 10 Jobs Corps Position 10 Childcare Subsidies $250,000 $450,000 $300,000 $350,000 $450,000 $250,000 $150,000
    17. 17. Small Group Discussion Agenda • Introductions • Review City Map & Ground Rules • Idea Brainstorm • Rank Top 3 Ideas • Prepare for Report Back
    18. 18. Large Group Report Back & Next Steps • Let’s hear some ideas that came up! • What would happen next? – – – – – People would volunteer to be delegates Budget delegates would meet in committees Projects would be put on a ballot The public would vote Top projects would become part of the city budget
    19. 19. Ideas for the next Speaker • Support to Expand Current Process – Get more Council Members to participate! • Nine (9) this cycle • Twelve (12) more committed after recent elections • That’s twenty-one (21) of fifty-one (51) – Create Centralized Support Office in Council – Provide Council Matching Funds for District Processes – Allocate funds to be used for expense projects
    20. 20. Ideas for the next Mayor • Expand beyond the current process – Provide support for PB processes in Council – Connect PB in Council with Additional NYC Budget Funds – Pilot PB in a City Agency (NYCHA/ DYCD) • Consider PB one tool to engage residents – – Create Citizen Assemblies to decide few key issues Create Office of Civic Engagement/ Community Democracy
    21. 21. Where do you see PB in NYC? • • • • • Take a minute Think about your own vision Write down your thoughts Share with a neighbor Bring it back for a wrap up
    22. 22. Ways to Get Involved!  Get involved o Participate in or support a process o Advocate for a new one to start  Help spread the word  Keep informed through our list-serves  Visit!