Millions Of Dollars Up For Grabs In Some NYC Districts

New York City Council

New York City Council members are handing over their dollar decisions to who else ... the City's residents.

Councilman Jumaane Williams stood alongside fellow council members during the announcement of Participatory Budgeting on City Hall's steps Wednesday.

"Your money, your voice, your vote," explained Williams.

Each council member has about a million dollars in discretionary funds to divvy up within his or her district to better the communities. Instead of making that decision on their own, these council members are turning it over to the residents.

Councilman Brad Lander explained how it will work with the residents, saying "They will come together, come up with ideas, brainstorm, to shape projects."

Council members, Lander, Williams, Mark-Viverito and Ulrich are the only ones to try this grassroots approach. While other cities, like Chicago, have done this before, it's a first for the Big Apple.

Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito said, "What you have to say will make an impact directly on your community."

The council members say this is all about engaging and empowering the communities they represent.

"What better way to empower your community than to have them directly decide where their tax dollars are spent." said Williams.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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