The city of Durham is now taking residents’ ideas for how to spend $2.4 million via participatory budgeting.
The submission period began November 1 and continues through December 21.
“Participatory budgeting is a democratic process that allows residents to directly decide how to spend part of the City’s public budget,” the city says. “Participatory budgeting involves a two-year cycle of meetings, voting, and project implementation to then become part of the broader budget decision-making process.”
The Durham City Council voted in May to set aside $800,000 for each of the city’s three words to allocate toward community projects. Once ideas are submitted and refined, city residents will vote in May on their favorite idea for their own ward.
The city is looking for ideas for one-time projects – meaning projects that require a one-time expenditure, other than operating costs, and don’t require the hiring additional staff – that benefit the community. Those ideas could include things like park improvements, computers for a community center, bus shelters or bike lanes.
Ideas are already coming in online – many to do with street infrastructure, like traffic lights, railroad crossings and sidewalks. Others include murals, bus shelters, mini food pantries in city parks and community centers.
Submissions are being accepted online as well as at “idea collection assemblies,” the first of which will be held Thursday from five-thirty to seven-thirty p.m. at Birchwood Heights Community Center, located at 416 Walton Street.
The Participatory Budgeting team also plans to host at least five meetings in each of the three wards in coming weeks. You’ll also find pop-up tables in the community, includes at the Durham County Health and Human Services building throughout the submission period and at The Durham Hotel on December 4 from noon to four p.m.
Voting will be open to any resident thirteen and older, regardless of citizenship status. To vote, they could present proof of address or affirm they live in the city on a form.