The community was given an opportunity to direct city budget funds to projects they felt were important – and the results are in!
On Thursday, May 7, Councilman Ritchie Torres’ 15th Councilmanic District office hosted an event to announce the results of the 2015 Participatory Budgeting Cycle for the district at the office’s location on 573 E, Fordham Road.
This year’s participatory budgeting cycle, which marked the first to take place in the central Bronx, gave local residents an opportunity to vote on how they believe a portion of the city’s FY2016 Executive Budget, totaling more than $78 billion, should be spent in their communities and neighborhoods.
Over the course of the year, residents in the district worked with Torres and his office to devise project ideas and proposals while engaging in voter outreach.
The first week of the participatory budgeting cycle, which took place in mid-April, was a raging success, as 2,339 ballots were casted by residents.
Voters, ages 14 and up, were allowed to vote for up to five proposals out of the 13 choices on the ballot.
The final ballot choices included Belmont Library public bathrooms, a Grand Concourse Library roof, HVA units at Tremont Library, air conditioning for public schools, security cameras for public schools, NYPD security cameras, Bronx Park East improvements, a dog park in Echo Park, Slattery Playground basketball courts and bathrooms, tree guards, a Van Nest flag pole to fly Old Glory, a mobile animal emergency unit and bus countdown clocks.
After much anticipation, the 2015 Participatory Budgeting Cycle results are as follows:
– 1st Place: security cameras for public school ($80,000 – 1,352 votes)
Security camera systems will be installed on the exteriors of Knowledge and Power Preparatory Academy, 2055 Mapes Avenue as well as M.S. 391/TAPCO, 2225 Webster Avenue, allowing staff to monitor the exteriors of the schools.
– 2nd Place: Bronx Park East improvements ($450,000 – 1,323 votes)
Renovations and enhancements will be made throughout Bronx Park north of Pelham Parkway (Bronx Park East).
– 3rd Place: NYPD security cameras ($315,000 – 1,288 votes)
Nine NYPD security cameras will be installed throughout District 15, providing video feeds directly to local police precincts.
– 4th Place: air conditioning for public schools ($145,000 – 1,236 votes)
Air conditioning units will be installed at P.S. 28 Mount Hope, 1861 Anthony Avenue, P.S. 32, 690 East 183rd Street, and P.S. 9, 230 East 183rd Street, which will keep classrooms cool in warmer months.
– 5th Place: bus countdown clocks ($80,000 – 935 votes)
Digital displays will be installed at four major bus stops, showing what times the buses will arrive.
Torres was the first to state, after announcing the results, that funding going towards security was most popular among the district’s voters. He then proceeded to honor and thank the many individuals who were involved in the process for their planning, proposing and voting.
“I would like to thank the dozens of volunteers who made this process a success in its first year. Through participatory budgeting, we were able to involve Bronx residents in how city funds are spent in their neighborhoods while connecting with communities marked by years of civic disengagement,” said Torres, the youngest member of the City Council. “The five projects receiving capital funds were created and selected by local residents through a truly democratic process and I look forward to continuing PB next year in District 15.”
Funding will be allocated to city agencies to implement these projects when the city budget is approved in July.