By Sadef Ali Kully
The city’s participatory budgeting vote for neighborhoods in Jamaica, St. Albans, Hollis, Cambria Heights, Queens Village, Addisleigh Park, and Springfield Gardens will come to an end this Sunday.
Participatory budgeting allows communities to directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. This year 24 City Council members gave residents the chance to choose how $25 million in taxpayer money will be allocated as part of their capital discretionary funds.
“We are very excited to engage all facets of our community and empower citizens in this manner, including those who have previously been disenfranchised,” said Councilman I. Daneek Miller (D-St.Albans). “This is an opportunity to give all individuals a chance to become stakeholders and have a voice in the betterment and enhancement of our community’s capital investment. There is no greater vehicle galvanizing local communities today than participatory budgeting.”
Miller said the district will receive $1 million and the community votes will determine where and how that money will be spent.
The projects looking for funding have been proposed by area residents, vetted by city agencies and are ready to be funded, should they receive enough votes during the participatory budgeting voting week.
In southeast Queens, the top three most expensive projects proposed with pricetags of more than $400,000 are Roy Wilkins Park Enhancement, road resurfacing, and the St. Albans basketball court.
The dominating proposals were academic. An estimated 17 public schools have sent in proposals that price range from $35,000 to $160,000 for mostly technological upgrades such as laptops, desktops, Smart Boards and overhead projectors.
Overall, there are 24 districts across the city which will be a part of the participatory budgeting vote, and nine Queens districts participating in the public budget vote.
The ballot of projects will be available in Bengali, Creole, and Spanish in addition to English.
The last day to vote for the city’s participatory budgeting will be Sundaybetween 12-5 p.m. at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center on Jamaica Avenue.
Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skull