Implement Participatory Budgeting

Currently, our budget is created by large stakeholders—department heads, city council members, and the Mayor’s Office. The public does not have the opportunity to view or comment on the budget until the Mayor releases it. A participatory process will engage the people in our city that are often left out of the political process, especially people of color and Indigenous people (POCI) and low-wealth individuals. The budget is an opportunity for shared governance between City Hall and Minneapolis residents.

Participatory budgeting will begin as a percentage of the city’s budget designated for local projects—allowing residents to decide how to use the money. Long-term, we should explore strategies to expand the process to other areas of Minneapolis’ budget, like housing, public safety, education, and supporting small businesses.

Examples

  • In New York City, District 3 P.S. 111 Air Conditioning for the Library, $150,000: Project provides air conditioning for the library, which is used as a summer school site for hundreds of students.

  • In Vallejo, CA, Community Gardens & Nutrition Education, $146,500: Project developed and installed 9 gardens across Vallejo and funded an instructor to provide educational instruction for elementary school students.

Vision and Priorities

Participatory budgeting is a process led by people. Projects are proposed and formed into funding requests, and voted upon by the public. With intentional engagement, participatory budgeting challenges traditional processes which have ignored POCI, immigrant, and low-wealth communities, creating a process that promotes civic engagement.

  1. Make the city budget accessible: We will collaborate with local community organizations, local nonprofits, faith groups, and schools to organize around the budget process.
    • Host listening sessions and feedback opportunities in communities across the city so residents can give recommendations before the budget is proposed
    • Put the proposed budget on the city’s open data website, like previously adopted budgets are
    • Make the budget available in multiple languages
  2. Invest in community outreach: We will educate and organize communities, ward-by-ward, on the participatory budgeting process.
    • Hire coordinators to conduct outreach and education initiatives in each City Council Ward
    • Coordinate with community leaders, nonprofits, faith-based organizations, and schools to:
      • Engage communities on their unique needs and how participatory budgeting can be used to secure funding for projects
      • Conduct surveys with community members to come up with project ideas and proposals
    • Keep this process accessible by conducting outreach in multiple languages and allowing residents to participate online
  3. Create leadership that reflects the community: We will prioritize creating an equitable leadership structure to oversee decision making.
    • Residents of each ward will be able to join steering committees, representative of the ward in regards to race, age, economic status, immigration status, and homeownership status
    • The committees facilitate monthly assembly meetings—open to all ward residents to propose projects and discuss ideas
    • The committees will work with city staff to develop project proposals from ideas and present final projects for a vote by their community

Works Consulted

Bhatnagar, Deepti, Animeth Rathore, Maguie Moreno Torres, and Kanungo Parameeta. “Participatory budgeting in Brazil [Working paper].” World Bank, 2017.

Capital Long-Range Improvement Committee. “The CLIC Report: A Summary of Recommendations for the City of Minneapolis, 2018-2022.” City of Minneapolis, 2017.

City of Vallejo, City of Vallejo Participatory Budgeting Cycle 3 Rulebook.

The Participatory Budgeting Project, Scoping Toolkit: A Guide for Officials and Staff Interested in Starting Participatory Budgeting.

Peixoto, Tiago. “E-Participatory Budgeting: E-democracy from Theory to Success? World Bank Governance-Global Practice, September 2008.

Smith, Graham. “Participatory Budgeting: Porto Allegre 2005-2007.” Participedia, 2009.

Wampler, Brian and Mike Touchton. “Brazil let its citizens make decisions about city budgets. Here’s what happened.” Washington Post, January 2014.