Greensboro to consider participatory budgeting on Tuesday

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The logo for a group that has pushed the idea forward

Participatory budgeting is back on the Greensboro City Council’s agenda for its Tuesday meeting.

City staff presented a proposal — that would call for a participatory budgeting process run in each of the five council districts  — at the council work session last week and council will vote on whether to go forward with the plan on Tuesday, Interim Assistant City Manager Mary Vigue said.

Council had created a committee to consider participatory budgeting, a process used in several other cities in the country and many around the world, after urging from a small group of committed residents. The city council committee agreed to wait until the 2015-16 budget to begin, which is why the item is coming before council now even though the committee last met in May, Vigue said.

The project would cost $200,000 during the first year to get up and running, which would include $100,000 committed in matching funds from local supporters, according to Vigue. The request before council calls for $500,000 for the 2016-17 year, with $100,000 allocated to each district, to fund the project. There would also be continuing costs incurred from administering the program, but Vigue said there is not a solid estimate yet.

Vigue said it is unclear whether participatory budgeting would have a dedicated staff person if approved, but added that the city’s budget office has been and will continue to be involved.

Backers have called for community support, both to attend the meeting Tuesday and contact council expressing support for the idea.