Participatory Budgeting (UPDATED)

UPDATED:  A day or so after I posted this, RMAPI released information on the initiatives that Monroe County residents can vote for.  I have to admit, I'm fairly impressed.  While there are a few that are just long-standing, local non-profits tying enhance their operational budgets, there are some really good, independent initiatives here.  You can vote on them online at or in person at the dates and places in the graphic below.  I highly encourage everyone to participate.  And when elected to City Council I will try to make this an continuous endeavor as outlined below.  Go Vote!

A chart of dates and places to participate in participatory budgeting in Rochester

Right now, Rochester is participating in a form of Participatory Budgeting (PB) through the Rochester Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative (RMAPI), though few people know about it and it does not go far enough.  I advocate for a PB system to be enacted across the City with at least $1 million a year to be given to 16 sections of Rochester.  These sections would be each quadrant divided up into 4 sections each. 

Infographic on Participatory Budgeting
From the Participatory Budgeting Project

Participatory Budgeting is a democratic way of using public money.  Those interested in participating, develop and decide on projects that meet the needs of the people who live in that area.  The planning and decision-making are done by the residents of each area.  If there’s a project that two (or even more) adjacent areas want to share, all the better. 

Ideas for safety, economic development, education, fighting climate change, food creation, and more are all on the table. 

The process for PB is not a representative one; people are not elected to boards to do the work in private.  Every citizen who wants to participate does.  PB has been used by thousands of countries, cities, school districts, and more.  There are enough examples of PB so that we do not have to develop guidelines from scratch, but whatever we do, the proceedings MUST be as democratic and transparent as possible. 

This investment into our community will cost $17 million a year.  (I’m actually overestimating the administrative costs.) This money will come from the money we save in the budget that I will be outlining during the campaign - I'll add the link when the plank is released.

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