What is Participatory Budgeting?
Participatory budgeting (PB) is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. PB gives ordinary people real decision-making power over real money. The process was first developed in Brazil in 1989, and there are now over 1,500 participatory budgets around the world.
Since 2012, my office has given one million of its discretionary capital funds (“menu money”) to the community to decide how to spend through a participatory budgeting (PB) process.
It works like this:
• PB begins in the spring with ward residents and stakeholders proposing spending ideas at neighborhood assemblies.
• Next, volunteer community representatives take those ideas and develop them into project proposals.
• Finally, residents 14 years of age or older vote on projects, and the projects that receive the most votes are submitted by Alderman Arena for funding to the City of Chicago for implementation.