Hamilton Does First Participatory Budgeting At State Level

State Sen. Jesse Hamilton. Photo by Kadia Goba

In taking a play from the city council, State Sen. Jesse Hamilton (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Gowanus, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, South Slope, Sunset Park) announced today he will let constituents in his district decide how to spend a $1 million in state capital funding.

The process is called participatory budgeting, which is a process whereby communities give direct input into allocating funding for community improvements to parks, schools, libraries, streets, and neighborhood needs.

State Sen. Jesse Hamilton
Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams

A large number of city council members have been allocating some of the discretionary funds through participatory budgeting for several years so Hamilton figured he’d try it on the state level.

So Hamilton is inviting neighborhood residents to brainstorm ideas, provide input, and ultimately vote on where funding will be allocated. Projects eligible for funding this cycle will be capital improvements. Neighborhood Assemblies are the first stage in the participatory budgeting process, which concludes with community residents voting on which project will receive funding.

“Participatory budgeting turns community vision into community action. In an open, transparent, and inclusive process, our first Neighborhood Assembly will allow the community to come together and brainstorm ideas on projects for this $1 million in funding,” said Hamilton, who is partnering with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams for providing critical support for this first, state-level participatory budgeting.

“Thanks as well to community partner Bridge Street Development Corporation This serves as a great opportunity for neighborhood residents across Central Brooklyn to speak out and advance our communities. In future years, I hope even more communities across Brooklyn and across New York State will be able to pursue participatory budgeting. Our efforts here in Central Brooklyn will proudly serve as one more link in a chain of participatory budgeting success stories across the country,” Hamilton added.

Hamilton’s first Neighborhood Assembly to decide how the money is spent is slated for 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 23 at St Francis de Sales School for the Deaf, 260 Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights.