Solar panels. Security cameras. A new church roof. There was no shortage of ideas for citizen budget delegates to consider in Councilman Jumaane Williams’ district. But not all of them could work.
In Councilman Brad Lander’s district, citizen budget delegates learned quickly how expensive simple projects can be. But they also found much could be accomplished without spending a dime.
Delegates in Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito’s district had to get savvy about how to get the maximum out of their million. So they expanded the scope of potential projects and limited the number they’d consider.
Citizen budget delegates in City Councilman Eric Ulrich’s district focused on two neglected neighborhoods—including one where a wall between the city and the sea has become a subject for debate.
A pilot effort is under way in four City Council districts to give constituents some say in which capital projects are funded. Amid successes and snags, there are signs the initiative is getting citizens more engaged in government.