Greensboro is the first city in the southeastern U.S. to try a model of outreach on city budget decisions called participatory budgeting (PB) http://www.participatorybudgeting.org/.
First used in many Brazilian communities, and more recently used in St. Louis, Chicago, Boston, New York and Vallejo (CA), PB in Greensboro is occurring through May 2016, with a recommendation to the City Council in time for their action in June on the Fiscal Year 2016-17 budget (FY16-17).
An overview, with short videos, is available at www.greensboro-nc.gov/pb.
The main steps are:
- Residents brainstorm ideas,
- Volunteer budget delegates have community conventions to develop specific proposals,
- Residents attend expos and vote, and
- The top projects win funding.
Each of the five council districts in Greensboro has reserved $100,000 in FY 16-17. Participants in those districts will gather and decide how to spend money from a list of projects in their district.
Right now, groups are learning about the PB process and beginning to generate ideas for how to spend the money in their respective districts. Community members can also submit their ideas on ideasgreensboro.org.
Two of the leaders of Greensboro PB are Ranata Reeder and Wayne Abraham. They offer answers to three questions: