By Patrick Donachie
Schools and libraries ended up the big winners in Council District 23’s participatory budgeting cycle for 2016, according to an announcement from Councilman Barry S. Grodenchik (D-Oakland Gardens).
For residents of the eastern Queens district $1.5 million was on hand for the fifth annual cycle of the process in which they were able to vote on how best to allocate the funds. Residents voted for a number of technological upgrades to area schools and allocated more than half a million dollars to Hollis and Queens Village libraries.
“Participatory budgeting is a great way to engage and include the community in our budget process and it strengthens our democracy,” Grodenchik said. “I am incredibly grateful for the hard work that volunteers put into making this year’s participatory budgeting a success.”
The winning projects were $548,000 for laptop carts and smart boards for PS 33Q, IS109Q, Queens High School of Teaching, Business Technology Early College High School, PS/IS266Q and PS 224Q at PS 205Q.
A total of $375,000 was allocated for audiovisual and other items for PS 18Q, 26Q, 33Q, 186Q and IS 109Q.
The $550,000 allocated to the libraries was for “facility upgrades, technology installations and new library materials,” according to Grodenchik. District 23 residents chose to delegate the funds to these choices over such projects as resurfacing the Vanderbilt Motor Parkway and a new gym floor for Martin Van Buren High School.
District 23 includes parts of Oakland Gardens, Glen Oaks, Fresh Meadows, Terrace Heights and Queens Village.
Reach reporter Patrick Donachie by e-mail at pdona