What is Participatory Budgeting (PB)?
Participatory Budgeting (PB) is a democratic process in which community members recommend to City Council how to spend a portion of the public budget.
How does PB work?
The process works like this:
Watch this video to learn more about the participatory budgeting process.
What is PBP?
The Participatory Budgeting Project (PBP) is a non-profit organization that works with governments and organizations to develop participatory budgeting processes. Their mission is to empower people to decide together how to spend public money. They create and support participatory budgeting processes that deepen democracy, build stronger communities, and make public budgets more equitable and effective.
Learn more about PBP.
How much money is set aside for PB?
City Council set aside $500,000 for PB projects. Each of the five City Council districts has up to $100,000 for residents to decide upon for capital projects.
What are capital projects?
Capital projects usually involve infrastructure improvements (as opposed to operating projects, which usually fund salaries, programs, and services). Infrastructure improvements are usually physical, but not always. Most capital projects have some sort of associated operating cost. Projects that would require the City to hire additional staff are not eligible.
In general, eligible projects:
• Are one-time expenditures
• Benefit the public
• Are implemented by the City on City property (streets, parks, libraries, recreation centers, municipal buildings, etc.). Projects on Greensboro Housing Authority, Guilford County Schools or private property are not eligible.
PB funding cannot be used to make a grant to a nonprofit organization. Before projects are put before a public vote, they must be reviewed by City staff and approved by the City Manager to ensure they meet all legal requirements of capital projects.
What are examples of capital projects?
- Improvements to public playgrounds and parks
- Repairing streets and sidewalks
- Installing accessibility ramps on public property
- Renovating public buildings
- Installing benches or street lights
- Resurfacing a basketball court
What are the goals of PB?
The Steering Committee crafted the following goals for the FY 2015-16 PB process:
"We hope to achieve equity through this process. By this, we mean fair distribution of funds for each district and within districts. We also want to see resident participation in each district that reflects the demographics of district residents."
"We want to achieve more inclusion through our process. Greensboro is a city that is widespread and there are people who are excluded from participating fully in other processes. We want to engage those residents who are normally not, specifically along traditional elections and voting, in this process. We would like to see engagement efforts of Greensboro PB lead to higher participation in other things like traditional voting."
"We want to strengthen democracy in Greensboro by helping to create more community leaders through civic education and the hands-on experience of the PB process. Five years from now, we want to see an expanded civic leadership come from PB in Greensboro. We want to see an increase in community relationships. Participants should have fun and enjoy the process."
"We want a research and evaluation of the BP process to help us measure the diversity and change in diversity of participants in the process. We want to build a sustainable bridge of ideas through PB, a bridge that connects us across neighborhoods and districts and breeds collaboration. We want to have consistency in our PB process. This is important to consider as some districts have residents with higher capacities for outreach and participation, and we want to make sure to provide more resources and capacity building training to districts/neighborhoods with lower capacity."
How can I be involved with PB?
There are many opportunities to get involved with the PB process, including:
- Submitting ideas
- Volunteering as a Budget Delegate to research the submitted ideas and ultimately determine which project proposals make it to the PB ballot
- Volunteering at voting events
- Providing translation services for events and outreach materials
- Helping to spread the word about PB to make sure people in all corners of Greensboro know about this initiative and can participate.