After an especially tough election week, isn’t it time to feel good about voting and democracy?
The next round of participatory budgeting is about to begin! This is when you and your neighbors decide how to spend over $1 million in improvements for the 49th Ward.
Each year, I receive over $1 million from the City’s “Aldermanic Menu” program to spend at my discretion on infrastructure improvements in the ward. Seven years ago, I implemented a “participatory budgeting” process in which the residents of my ward decide directly through popular vote how those tax dollars are spent.
Since then, scores of cities across the nation have emulated our process and just recently Participatory Budgeting became the subject of a PBS documentary.
The process for determining how to spend the 2017 budget begins next Monday. Over the next three weeks, I will host six “Neighborhood Assemblies” (five in English and one in Spanish) throughout the 49th Ward.
The first assembly takes place Monday, November 14th, 7:00 p.m. (complimentary pizza served at 6:30 p.m.) at New Field Elementary School, 1707 W. Morse (at Clark). If you can’t make this assembly, there are five more to choose from.
For a complete schedule of all upcoming Neighborhood Assemblies, scroll to the bottom of this post.
Attend one of these meetings and learn how the process works and give your input on the types of projects you believe should be funded in the 49th Ward. The meetings will be identical in content, so you need attend only one of the meetings.
Pick the day and location that is most convenient for you and bring your appetite. Pizza and refreshments courtesy of JB Alberto’s Pizza will be served at the evening Neighborhood Assemblies. Coffee and donuts will be served at the Saturday morning session.
Even if you know how participatory budgeting works, you should attend a Neighborhood Assembly. The Neighborhood Assemblies are where the project ideas for next year are first devised. It’s also when we ask for volunteers to serve as “community representatives,” who will be charged with developing project proposals for the ward-wide vote next spring.
We will be considering only proposals for projects that fall within the boundaries of the 49th Ward. View a copy of the 49th ward map.
If you would like more information on participatory budgeting in the 49th Ward, including the participatory budgeting election results and updates on the implementation of the winning projects, visit the Participatory Budgeting page of my website.
The 49th Ward was the first political jurisdiction in the nation to adopt a participatory budgeting approach to public spending, and it’s been so well-received that I have pledged to make it a permanent fixture in the ward.
As I indicated above, the 49th Ward was featured in an hour-long PBS documentary on Participatory Budgeting called “Count Me In.” It was broadcast on WTTW-TV last week, but don’t worry if you missed it. You can see it on WTTW tonight, Friday, November 11th, at 7:00 p.m. and again at 1:30 a.m. Or you can catch it tomorrow, Saturday, at 2:00 p.m.
And next week, be a part of history. Join us at one of the Neighborhood Assemblies!
Neighborhood Assembly Schedule for Step 1 of the
2016-17 Participatory Budgeting Process
(Note: Complimentary pizza will be provided at 6:30 p.m. before all evening meetings and coffee and donuts will be provided at 9:30 a.m. before the Saturday, December 3rd, morning meeting.)
Monday, Nov. 14, 7 p.m., New Field Elementary School, 1707 W. Morse
Tuesday, Nov. 15, 7 p.m., Kilmer Elementary School, 6700 N. Greenview
Monday, Nov. 21, 7 p.m., Loyola Park Fieldhouse, 1230 W. Greenleaf
Monday, Nov. 28, 7 p.m., Pottawattomie Park Fieldhouse, 7340 N. Rogers
Wednesday, Nov. 30, 7 p.m., St. Jerome Church Parish Center, 1709 W. Lunt (Spanish language)
Saturday, Dec. 3, 10 a.m., Willye White Park Fieldhouse, 1610 W. Howard
Below is a copy of the 49th Ward map (courtesy of the Chicago Board of Elections):