Cambridge Chronicle: Cambridge seeks public's input on how to spend $600K

July 30, 2015

After a successful pilot process in 2014-15, the city launched its second participatory budgeting initiative in June by recruiting a 24-member steering committee to oversee the process. Participatory budgeting is a democratic process through which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget.

The city will set aside $600,000 of the fiscal 2017 capital budget for projects to improve the community. How would you spend $600,000 to improve Cambridge?

During the last PB cycle, six projects won $528,000 in funding: 100 new trees and tree wells; 20 laptops for the Community Learning Center; bilingual books for children learning English; public toilet in Central Square; eight bike repair stations; and free public Wi-Fi in six outdoor locations.

Community members are encouraged to submit project ideas from Aug. 1 to 31 through an interactive online map, which will go live on the city’s PB website Aug. 1. Citizens can also email, call, mail, or hand-deliver idea submissions to the city’s budget office at [email protected], 617- 349-4270, or 795 Mass. Ave., c/o Budget Office, Cambridge, 02139.

After ideas are collected in August, volunteer budget delegates will work during September, October and November to research, assess, and prioritize ideas and determine the final proposals that will appear on the ballot in December. To volunteer as a budget delegate, sign up on the city’s website or email [email protected].