Anyone who’s been following the City of Chicago’s budgeting process knows that neither the public nor elected officials have had much substantive input into each year’s spending. But up in Chicago’s 49th Ward, Ald. Joe Moore and some of his constituents are testing out a new process — “participatory budgeting” — at the local level. Specifically, they are working together to determine how to divvy up the ward’s $1.3 million “menu money” budget.
Each year, aldermen are given funding for infrastructure projects in their wards, from new lighting to street resurfacing. Inevitably, the list of potential uses for the money far outstretches the total sum available, leading to much consternation. Moore tells us he’s hoping his “grand experiment” in budgeting will give his constituents a taste of “the tough choices” he’s confronted with each year. “It shows the limited resources we have to work with,” he says.
Read full article at: http://progressillinois.com/2009/12/3/a-grand-experiment-in-budgeting