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Op-Ed | The people’s money — your money to improve your community

May. 23, 2023 By Mayor Eric Adams

Have you ever looked around your neighborhood and thought—it would be great if we could have a community garden here, or maybe more afterschool programs for students, or special services for seniors?  Now, you can bring those ideas to life. “The People’s Money” is the first ever citywide participatory budgeting process run by our Civic Engagement Commission (CEC), and from today until June 25th, all New York City residents ages 11 and older – regardless of immigration status – can vote on how to spend $5 million dollars of our city’s budget. To do so, go to our website: on.nyc.gov/pb and vote on projects that your fellow New Yorkers have proposed.

You can vote on projects for your borough, and the residents of 33 equity neighborhoods can vote on one additional project that will be funded in their neighborhood.  The projects have been carefully selected from hundreds of proposals that were brainstormed by New Yorkers in workshops across all five boroughs earlier this year. In fact, the CEC facilitated 523 Idea Generation sessions across the city in which 12,344 New Yorkers participated.  If you have ideas that you would like to suggest, please consider participating in this phase of the process next year. 

Participatory budgeting gives you a direct say in the future of your community. You decide how our money is spent.  Participatory Budgeting strengthens our democracy and deepens civic engagement.  I championed the program as Brooklyn Borough President, and as mayor, I have made it even bigger, giving New Yorkers more money to invest directly in their communities. 

Some of this year’s proposals include: a youth multicultural arts program in Manhattan; workplace skills training for adults with autism in the Bronx; an intergenerational mentoring program in Brooklyn; a young entrepreneurs program in Queens; and a women and young girls health center on Staten Island. 

Proposals in the equity neighborhoods include: teaching Bed-Stuy history in Bedford Stuyvesant; coding 101 for BIPOC youth in Fordham Heights and University Heights; food access support on the Lower East Side and in Chinatown; multilingual job fairs in Corona; and outreach to unhoused people with disabilities in St. George, Stapleton, Port Richmond and Tompkinsville. 

Most projects can be implemented in a year.  So you don’t have to wait endlessly to see the results. The winners will be announced by July and the CEC will work closely with the organizations to make sure that all projects are completed successfully.

You may have voted on Participatory Budgeting projects through your City Council Member, but “The People’s Money” is the first citywide process, and it uses mayoral funds. 

Don’t miss this opportunity to vote on how to spend $5 million of your money. 

Visit on.nyc.gov/pb and vote today. 

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