Today Mayor Ed Murray and Councilmember Nick Licata announced that the City of Seattle will begin a Participatory Budgeting project, a democratic process through which Seattle youth and young adults will decide how to spend part of the City budget.
This week Murray sent legislation to Seattle City Council to allocate $173,000 to develop and launch the project this fall. When the mayor sends his 2016 budget to the Council in September, he will include a recommendation for $500,000 to be allocated through Participatory Budgeting. Seattle’s youth are scheduled to make the first funding decisions in May of 2016.
“Participatory budgeting will give the people of Seattle a direct say in how we allocate resources,” said Murray. “Our youth will have an opportunity to shape our city, even as they shape their own futures. The City needs to respond to the needs of young people, and this exercise will continue to build those connections.”
Licata introduced Participatory Budgeting to the City earlier this year, a concept that is being used in cities around the world.
“I heard strong support for participatory budgeting in Seattle during two public forums held this winter,” said Licata. “Starting with youth directly deciding how to spend city funds is a great way to introduce participatory budgeting in Seattle.”
Seattle will join Chicago, New York, Boston, San Francisco and other cities in using Participatory Budgeting. Though each city implements the concept differently, the basic premise is common across the cities: community members brainstorm spending ideas, budget delegates develop proposals based on these ideas, residents vote on proposals, and the government implements the winning projects.
The Seattle Department of Neighborhoods (DON) will oversee the program starting with creation of a steering committee to help design, plan, and execute the process.
“Because our role is to engage all communities, this department is poised to develop and lead the process,” said Kathy Nyland of DON. “We will work hard to ensure that all Seattle youth have a voice at the table.”
For more information on Participatory Budgeting, visit participatorybudgeting.org.