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$1M in taxpayer money to spend!

September 28, 2011 7:55:39 PM PDT
What would you do with a million dollars? I'm sure you have the answer, but four New York City Council Members apparently don't.

They each have a million dollars in discretionary taxpayer funds and need your help on how to spend it.

"Oh, we get to be involved, what a beautiful thing," said Morgan Gabriel, an East Flatbush resident.

Spending $1 million in your own neighborhood is a beautiful thing.

"It's not even my money, it's their money, so I'm excited to see what they are going to come up with," NYC Councilman Jumanne D. Williams said.

The process is called participatory budgeting.

Tax payers can decide on which capital and infrastructure projects are funded in the 2012 city budget.

A group of community leaders in East Flatbush are already working on their list which includes, better basketball courts, park benches and lighting, youth centers and pothole patrol.

In fact, all 30 schools in the district are asking for new computer labs.

"One of the things that I see specifically as a need within our community is youth, and youth involvement," said Rev. Charles Galbreath, of the Clarendon Rd. Baptist Church.

Of all 51 city council districts, four members are implementing the programs: Districts 32, 39, 45, and 8.

"In Chicago it started with just one alderman and then the next year it was three or four because they saw the potential," said NYC Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito.

Each district will hold a series of community meetings beginning in October to come up with a list of ideas. They will turn those ideas over to the city council in November. Then, the entire district will vote for a complete list of capital projects.

"The projects will get ranked and the ones with the most votes will be the ones that we put the city's dollars behind," said NYC Councilman Brad Lander.

In East Harlem, residents are buzzing about the possibility of getting more youth centers.

"This is really very powerful, and I get goose bumps when I think about it, because it's about getting people to think that they can be agents of change within their own community," Mark-Viverito said.


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