Participatory budgeting fits with the RMAPI principle of sharing decision-making with people who live in and are affected by poverty.
How will it work?
A 25-member steering committee will be trained by the Participatory Budgeting Project. The steering committee has not been finalized, but it’s expected to have many members who serve on RMAPI’s Community Advisory Council. The steering committee will determine other leadership roles. The steering committee also will set the policies by which the public can propose projects that will reduce poverty and improve the community, how much money will go to each project and the procedure for voting on the projects.
Who can participate?
Anyone who lives in Monroe County is eligible to round out the steering committee. When the steering committee sets voting criteria, everyone eligible will be encouraged to share their opinion. What kind of projects are we talking about?
Anything is on the table as long as it reduces poverty and benefits the community. This goes beyond the northeast neighborhoods where RMAPI has been running pilot projects. RMAPI will share suggestions it received at town hall meetings over the past few years but will not dictate projects.
Where is the money coming from?
Up to $200,000 is coming from the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative, which is funding other anti-poverty work in the region.
What about accountability?
Evaluation is built in. The steering committee will write rules for reporting. Plus, RMAPI has a legal responsibility to oversee the process because it is dealing with taxpayer funds.