Somerville's first-ever cycle of Participatory Budgeting is now underway!
How would you spend $1 million to improve Somerville?
If you live in Somerville and are 12 years or older you can submit your idea to improve your city until May 20, 2023.
Residents will be able to vote on their favorite ideas starting in September. The City will begin implementing ideas with the most votes in October 2023.
Members of the community are invited to submit their own ideas for using these funds to make Somerville better.
You can also sign up to to receive emails with progress updates, opportunities to take part in the process, and more. If you are involved with a community organization and would like us to come speak to your group about Participatory Budgeting, please reach out directly to Megan Huckenpahler.
Participatory Budgeting in Other Cities
Many other cities in the United States have already begun the process, starting with Chicago. Government structure, funding source, and voting methodologies vary throughout the US, but listed below are a few cities that closest mirror ours - check out their winning projects for inspiration!
History of Participatory Budgeting
In June 2022, the Mayor proposed―and City Council approved―$1 million to be allocated for the purpose of having community members propose and vote on projects to improve Somerville. The Working Group, made up of 11 residents and one City Councilor, is currently researching, deliberating, and deciding how this initiative will be rolled out in an equitable, inclusive, and engaging manner.
Hear more about how the process has been going in this Tufts Daily article and view the Participatory Budgeting Guidebook developed by the Working Group!
Participatory Budgeting began in Brazil in the 1980s and allows citizens to vote on how they would like to see a portion of government funds spent in the community. It has since expanded to more than 11,000 processes in nations, cities, and educational institutions in over 71 countries. More information can be found in the World PB Atlas.
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