Imagine if your city asked its citizens: how would you spend $3.2 million to improve your town?
It happened in the city of Vallejo. You may remember this city north of San Francisco once declared bankruptcy. Now it’s better known as a city that asks residents to participate in a process called participatory budgeting.
California Forward first reported this story last November.
Participatory budgeting (PB) is a democratic process where community members decide how to spend a portion of a public budget. In Vallejo, residents have the opportunity to directly decide how to spend 30%, $3.2 million, of the revenue generated from a sales tax increase that took effect in January.
Residents spent the last few months of 2012, brainstorming ideas during nine separate assemblies, attended by more than 100 people each.
Now a group called the delegation must work with city staff to narrow down those ideas for a vote in May.
California Forward’s Cheryl Getuiza reports.