By Madina Toure
Starting March 26, residents residing in the district of City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) can begin voting in the participatory budgeting process. Through participatory budgeting, residents can decide how at least $1 million is spent on community improvements to parks, schools, libraries and streets.
“Participatory budgeting is a great way to get the pulse of the community and see what everyone believes city dollars and resources should be spent on,” Vallone said in a statement.
Anyone who lives in Council District 19—Auburndale, Bayside, Bay Terrace, Beechhurst, College Point, Douglaston, Little Neck, Malba, North Flushing and Whitestone—and is at least 16 years old can vote. Voting runs through April 3.
Individuals do not have to be registered or eligible to vote in electoral elections but must bring proof of residency, such as an ID or a bill.
There are 17 projects that voters can choose from, including a $650,000 basketball court renovation at MacNeil Park in College Point, a $550,000 auditorium upgrade at JHS 194 in Whitestone, and a $450,000 music educational complex at Bayside High School.
There are 11 locations covering each of the district’s neighborhoods—Bayside, Whitestone, College Point, Douglaston, Little Neck and Flushing—where voters can cast their ballot. To see the full list of locations, visit the TimesLedger website.
Kathryn Cervino, vice president of the College Point Civic & Taxpayers Association, said eight of the projects are in the education category, noting that schools can ask students’ parents to vote.
But it is harder for civic associations because their meetings have a lower attendance, she said. “I’m just trying to think of every possible way to motivate people because it’s not every day that you get a shot at free money,” Cervino said.
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour