Buffalo Councilmembers Michael LoCurto and David Rivera have introduced a Resolution seeking to explore the possibility of utilizing a process called Participatory Budgeting in the City of Buffalo.

Participatory Budgeting allows citizens to decide how a municipalities budget funds are spent. Participatory budgeting involves several steps:

1) Community members identify spending priorities and select budget delegates
2) Budget delegates develop specific spending proposals, with help from experts
3) Community members vote on which proposals to fund
4) The city or institution implements the top proposals

First implemented in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 1989, Participatory Budgeting has recently been done in Chicago and New York City. In Chicago and New York, Councilmembers have put the discretionary funds they receive into the control of community residents who determine how such funds should be spent. TheToronto Community Housing agency has allowed public housing tenants to vote and determine how 20% of the agency’s capital funds are spent ($1.8 million dollars).

You can view the Buffalo Council Resolution, which appears on page 251 of the meeting agenda.

You can learn more about Participatory Budgeting here.

What do you think about giving citizens the ability to vote on how a portion of their tax dollars are spent?


About The Author

The definition of reinvent is:to replace with an entirely new version, to make over completely, to recast something familiar or old into a different form.In my opinion we need to reinvent government, business and ourselves. Today’s world is about constant change driven by the power of new ideas.For the past 17 years as an attorney, I have worked in government at the county, city, authority and school district level in the Buffalo, NY area. I have seen first hand the need for reinventing how government operates. For a period of four years, I served as Chief of Staff to the 9 member City of Buffalo Common Council. Government must engage the talents and skills of its citizens by becoming more collaborative and transparent in its decision-making and operations. Utilizing technology as a tool to engage citizens is something all governments need to explore.I have great respect for entrepreneurs as they put their passion into a vision, which results in new products, new services and new jobs. Entrepreneurs are on the front lines of change. As an adjunct college instructor, I see how students and everyone for that matter must continually change and reinvent themselves to survive and be successful in today’s crazy world economy.Some of my favorite change agent writers are Tom Peters, Seth Godin, Gary Hamel and Guy Kawasaki. I welcome the opportunity to meet new people, to further my own learning and to share ideas.On a personal note I am 47 years old, my other half Cheryl is an attorney in private practice and together we have three children, Michael age 20 and Joseph age 14 and our newest shock of an addition Julia, born 11/2/11.