In 2011, four New York City Council Members - Brad Lander, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Eric Ulrich, and Jumaane D. Williams - launched a PB process to let residents allocate part of their capital discretionary funds. Since then, five more council districts have joined PBNYC, giving ordinary New Yorkers real decision-making power over $12 million in taxpayer money across nine districts.
Participatory Budgeting (PB) is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. PB gives ordinary people real decision-making power over real money. Discretionary funds are resources that the Council Members can allocate as they desire. Capital funds can only be used for physical infrastructure projects on city-owned or non-city-owned land.
Between September 2013 and April 2014, 9 Council Members will invite residents to directly decide how to spend at least $1 million of their discretionary capital funds in each of the participating districts – a total of around $12 million. Residents of each district will propose and vote on local infrastructure projects, such as improvements to schools, parks, libraries, and housing. The Council Members will then submit the projects with the most votes to Council.