Schools, libraries and commuters were the big winners in Councilwoman Adrienne Adams’ first-ever participatory budgeting vote held in her southeast Queens district.
Adams represents the communities of Jamaica, Rochdale Village, Richmond Hill and South Ozone Park, where residents voted for technology and infrastructure upgrades at schools, libraries and installation of time clocks at bus stops.
The Participatory Budgeting vote cycle empowers local residents to vote for project proposals developed by community stakeholders that they would like to see funded, according to Adams.
Voters were able to choose their top five selections out of 20 project proposals to decide how to spend over $1 million of public money.
“As the representative of diverse communities, I have seen Participatory Budgeting provide a path to civic engagement for people who are often excluded from the decision-making processes,” said Adams. “Having power to create proposals and put them on a ballot for a public vote is a powerful tool to bring neighbors together, to bring more transparency to our public funding and to make sure that decisions are in the interest of a broad set of community members.”
Along with traditional paper ballots, residents were also able to vote online. The sole identification requirement was proof of residency in the district, removing traditional obstacles to full civic participation such as youth, income status, English-language proficiency and citizenship status.
The winning projects with an allocated amount of $1,353,000 below received the highest number of votes for the 28th City Council District were:
- Technology upgrades for P.S. 48, P.S. 55, P.S. 161, M.S. 72 and M.S. 332 ($175,000)
- Bathroom renovations at P.S. 40, P.S. 45, P.S. 55, and P.S. 80 ($400,000)
- Water fountains with bottle refill at J.H.S. 226 and P.S. 55 ($48,000)
- Five real-time rider information at bus stops in District 28 ($200,000)
- Technology upgrades for Baisley and Rochdale libraries ($160,000)
- Technology upgrades for Lefferts and South Ozone Park Library ($170,000)
- Renovation of student lounge at Richmond Hill High School ($200,000)