Scout: In 2018 Participatory Budget, More Residents Than Ever Put Their Mouth Where Their Money Is

Emily Cassel
August 4, 2017

When budget delegates convene next week to discuss 2018’s Participatory Budgeting proposals, they’re going to have their work cut out for them.

This is the fourth PB cycle, which invites the community to decide how a portion of the city’s capital budget is spent. Ideas are organized into seven categories: culture and community facilities, education, environment, parks and recreation, public health and safety, streets and sidewalks, and transportation. And this year, residents get to allocate their biggest chunk of cash yet: $800,000, an increase of $100,000 from FY17. 

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Cambridge Chronicle: How Would You Spend $800k in City? Cambridge Wants to Know

Jonathan Sigal
July 20, 2017 

The city of Cambridge has $800,000 to spend on miscellaneous capital projects, and it wants residents’ help with deciding where - and how - the money gets spent.

The money is part of Cambridge’s fourth annual Participatory Budgeting cycle, with funds coming from property taxes. Over 300 ideas have already been submitted. Michelle Monsegur, a budget analyst for the city, said she is expecting north of 500 submissions ahead of the July 31 deadline.

“It’s really a rush to get them in,” Monsegur said, “but we always end up impressed by what people come up with.”

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Cambridge Chronicle: Cambridge announces participatory budgeting results

December 17, 2016

The results are in for the third participatory budget process. More than 4,700 Cambridge residents ages 12 and older voted to decide how to spend $700,000 on capital projects to improve the community - a 13 percent increase from last year.

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Cambridge Day: Participatory budgeting vote: Solar panels, kinetic energy panels, bus trackers top list

Marc Levy
Thursday, December 15, 2016

Adding solar panels to the Main Library, flashing lights for crosswalks and real-time bus tracking displays led the city’s third annual Participatory Budget process, in which 4,730 residents age 12 and older voted on how to spend $700,000 of the city’s budget. (Well, actually $706,000.)

Community members brainstormed project ideas in June and July for volunteer budget delegates to research and develop into formal project proposals from August through November, staff explained. Proposals were vetted by city staff and approved by the city manager to appear on a Participatory Budget ballot in December for a public vote. Each voter could name five projects to fund.

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Cambridge Chronicle: 545 ideas submitted on how to spend $700K in Cambridge's Participatory Budget

Natalie Handy
August 16, 2016

With the submission deadline for the third round of the Participatory Budget officially closed, more than 70 volunteer delegates are now tasked with paring down 545 ideas submitted by residents to improve the city.

This year’s Participatory Budget will allow community members to decide how to spend $700,000 out of the public budget for capitol projects in Cambridge. Ideas were accepted between June 1 and July 31, according to budget analyst for the city of Cambridge, Michelle Monsegur.

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City of Cambridge: Participatory Budgeting in Cambridge

Scout: A Faster, Better #1 Bus and More Participatory Budgeting Winners

Emily Cassel
December 22, 2015

The second round of Participatory Budgeting wrapped up last week, with more funds to spread around ($600,000, up from $500,000), a greater number of project proposals (540 rather than 380) and a 53 percent increase in overall voter participation.

That big spike in interest could be due to the retooling of the PB timeline—last year, the program ran in parallel with putting the city’s own budget planning. “That was incredibly difficult for us,” says Jeana Franconi, budget director for the city. Planning started in May this year, and the steering committee formed in June. Citizens submitted their ideas in August, and the final voting concluded in December.

Read more Bikes, buses, and bottles: How Cambridge residents chose to spend $600,000

Eric Levenson
December 18, 2015

Transportation and bike safety were at the center of Cambridge residents’ minds when they voted on how to divvy up $600,000 in funding last week.

The city of Cambridge on Thursday announced the results of its Participatory Budgeting program, in which residents voted from Dec. 5 to 12 on how to spend public funds. From a list of 23 pre-approved options, residents chose to fund a total of seven programs.

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WBUR: Cambridge Gives Residents A Direct Say In Budgeting For The Next Fiscal Year

Sharon Brody
December 5, 2015

Listen here:  

The city of Cambridge is upending some of the top-down decision making as it puts together its budget for the next fiscal year. It’s inviting residents to vote directly on a range of projects worth $600,000.

The process is called participatory budgeting — it was first developed in Brazil about 25 years ago. 

Cambridge residents, ages 12 and older, could vote online or at town events from Saturday, Dec. 5 through Saturday, Dec. 12.

Budget director Jeana Franconi joined WBUR’s Weekend Edition’s Sharon Brody to talk about the effort.

Cambridge Chronicle: Cambridge asks residents to spend $600K with second Participatory Budget

Natalie Handy
December 2, 2015

The city of Cambridge has opened up a portion of the fiscal 2017 budget to the community, asking residents as young as 12 years old to cast their vote on how the city should spend $600,000 as part of the second Participatory Budget.

From Dec. 5 to Dec. 12, voters will cast their ballots online or at municipal buildings to narrow down 23 proposals to just six projects.

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