In 2012, members of the New York City Council embarked on what they called “a new form of democracy”—a process called Participatory Budgeting. For the first time in the history of New York City, residents themselves had the opportunity to decide how the city would spend a portion of its public funds.
Through the participatory budgeting process, community residents came together, proposed project ideas, selected delegates to oversee project creation and implementation, and ultimately voted on which projects to fund. As a result, in the first year of the program residents from across four of the city’s districts allocated more than 5 million dollars for community-selected projects.
On August 15, residents of Clarkston, Georgia, will gather and join in their own version of participatory budgeting. Through taking part in the Clarkston Community Trust, residents will decide how to use over $50,000 to improve their community.
Here’s how the Clarkston Community Trust will work at a glance:
- Community residents will attend a neighborhood conversation (August 15th, 2013)
- During that meeting, they will decide on a project area and will select trustees to oversee the process
- In the months that follow, the community-appointed trustees will gather ideas from the community and will turn those ideas into several project proposals
- Finally, community residents will gather again to collectively decide which proposal(s) to fund
While CDF has looked to New York’s Participatory Budgeting model while envisioning the Community Trust, the Clarkston Community Trust process will differ from New York City’s participatory budgeting in several ways:
- While New York City uses government funds for its participatory budgeting projects, the Clarkston Community Trust will use private funds from residents of the community, from businesses, and from other donors who want to support community-sponsored development.
- While New York City forms a number of “issue committees” at one time (e.g. Transportation, Public Health, Education, etc), residents who attend the August 15th Clarkston Community Trust meeting will select one topic area for its first-year project(s).
- While New York City’s participatory budgeting process ultimately decides which projects to fund by holding a vote, the Clarkston Community Trust will use consensus-based models of decision making, both when selecting the initial topic area and when selecting the final project.
To find out more about New York City’s Participatory Budgeting process, read the Participatory Budgeting in New York City Rulebook.
And join us on August 15th as the Clarkston community takes this exciting step together. RSVP for the Community Trust meeting now.