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Civic Engagement Commission Launches Voting Phase for Groundbreaking Citywide Participatory Budgeting Process

Published: May 17, 2023
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The sunrise is seen from the Edge observation deck at Hudson Yards on the first day of spring on March 20, 2021 in New York City. (Image: Alexi Rosenfeld via Getty Images)

Published on behalf of the New York City Civic Engagement Commission (CEC)

NEW YORK, New York — On May 17, Dr. Sarah Sayeed, Chair and Executive Director of the New York City Civic Engagement Commission (CEC), announced the commencement of the city’s voting phase for “The People’s Money.” 

The groundbreaking initiative marks the city’s first-ever citywide participatory budgeting process, enabling all New Yorkers aged 11 and older — regardless of immigration status — to vote on allocating $5 million of mayoral expense funding towards addressing community needs.

Starting now until June 25th, residents in all five boroughs will have the opportunity to cast their votes on a borough-specific ballot. In addition, individuals residing in any of the 33 equity neighborhoods can also participate in voting for their respective neighborhoods. Voting can be done online by entering the voter’s zip code, and paper ballots will be available at various citywide locations listed here. Once the voting period concludes, the ballots will be tabulated, and the winning projects will be announced. Implementation of the selected projects is slated to begin in 2024.

To enhance community engagement, the CEC will co-host five flagship events, one in each borough, featuring “The People’s Bus.” This mobile community center, converted from a retired Department of Corrections vehicle, will provide an additional voting location for residents. 

The event schedule will be as follows: 

  • Bronx Week Culture Festival: Grand Concourse (from 168 to 161) – May 21st
  • Queens Night Market: Flushing Meadows Park – June 3rd
  • Family & Fatherhood Fun Day: Clove Lakes Park – June 10th
  • Museum Mile Festival: Museum of the City of New York – June 13th
  • BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival: Prospect Park Bandshell – June 15th

‘The people’s money’

New York City Mayor, Eric Adams, expressed his support for the initiative, stating, “As we work towards a more equitable city, the launch of ‘The People’s Money’ represents a significant step towards inclusiveness. By allowing all New York City residents to vote on how to spend $5 million of mayoral expense funding, we are empowering communities to have a direct say in addressing their needs. I encourage all eligible residents to participate in this historic participatory budgeting process and help shape the future of our great city.”

Betsy MacLean, NYC Chief Engagement Officer, also emphasized the importance of this opportunity by sharing that every resident of the city should be entitled to know where funds are going to.

“The city budget is, in fact, the people’s money. This year, for the first time ever, New Yorkers across the city have the opportunity to weigh in directly and specifically on how your money is spent. Big ups to the Civic Engagement Commission — leading the direct democracy charge in our city with an abiding emphasis on equity, inclusion, creativity, and joy. Please join us in this transformative effort and vote! Together we can send a powerful message that New Yorkers want, need, and love participatory budgeting!”

“Throughout ‘The People’s Money’ process, the CEC has been focused on manifesting community power and meeting New Yorkers where they are at. During this voting phase we will continue our robust efforts to engage equitably with residents across the five boroughs,” said Dr. Sarah Sayeed, Chair and Executive Director, NYC Civic Engagement Commission.

“Participatory budgeting is a pathway into civic engagement that enables communities to move their voice into action on decisions that impact their lives.”

For more information, FAQs, and to find out how you can participate in the voting process, please visit the New York City CEC website here.