Column: How I’m building a larger table

New York City Councilmember Amanda Farías.
Photo courtesy Courtney Curd

When I ran for office I promised to bring more co-governance programs and events to our shared community. Co-goverance is about elongating the table to ensure community stakeholders have a seat and a voice in the decisions made by their local government. We know, local budgeting and civic outreach are two areas we want more engagement from our neighbors.

That’s why my office is rolling out Participatory Budgeting for a second year in a row. Participatory Budgeting is a great example of co-governance in action and is an opportunity for neighborhoods, schools and community leaders to advocate for the projects they want to see funded by their local councilmember. 

As the councilmember for District 18, I am really excited to have engaged community members over the last several months, building our viable projects and preparing for a week-long voting process. Community members voted from March 25 to April 2. We had 12-plus vote sites in every corner of the district, and voting took place in person and online in multiple languages. 

Thank you to the hundreds of people who voted and a special thank you to our nine budget delegates who created the ballot and were critical in helping to get out the vote. We had 10 projects on the ballot this year. These projects ranged from cafeteria and air conditioning upgrades for public schools, to repaving Hugh Grant Circle, to planting more trees and camera upgrades at Soundview Houses. I look forward to seeing what projects the community voted for and using the full $1 million I allocated for the community to decide where it gets spent. 

While vote week has come to an end this past weekend, we are excited about another budget season with another round of Participatory Budgeting. I want more people to see their projects realized, be encouraged by active voting, and stay engaged with my office. 

Finally, I hope to see you at one of my upcoming free community events.

I will be hosting mobile office hours at the Parkchester Library from 4-6 p.m. on April 4. I am also co-hosting an Iftar with Comptroller Brad Lander that will offer free hot takeaway meals at SAPNA NYC, 2348 Waterbury Ave.. Iftars will be every Friday during Ramadan at 2 p.m. This includes April 7 and April 14. Additionally, I am co-hosting a violence prevention training with the Interfaith Center at Castle Hill Library on April 11 from 4:30-5:30 p.m.

Being with each other in person discussing the local issues that matter the most to us is how we build back a better and safer community. I hope to see you and your family there!

Amanda Farías is the councilmember who represents City Council District 18. 

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