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City of Cambridge Announces Increased Investment and Launch of 10th Participatory Budgeting Process

Image of people holding signs of winning projects from the Participatory 9 Budgeting Process
Cambridge PB volunteers and City leaders hold up signs of the winning projects at the PB9 Vote Results Party.

The City of Cambridge today announced the launch of the 10th cycle of Participatory Budgeting (PB). The City will allocate a record-high $2 million for this year’s process, which doubles the previous budget of $1 million. The types of projects eligible for funding this fiscal year will be expanded to include capital and operating projects.

Community members can submit ideas five ways between September 11 - October 9, 2023:

  • Visit pb.cambridgema.gov
  • Email pb@cambridgema.gov
  • Call the City of Cambridge Budget Office at 617-349-4270
  • Drop ideas in the Payment Drop Box behind City Hall
  • Mail ideas to the City of Cambridge Budget Office, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge MA  02139

The City’s Participatory Budgeting outreach team will also be collecting ideas from the Cambridge community through direct outreach in public spaces and at public events throughout the idea collection period.

Participatory Budgeting is a democratic process that empowers community members through civic engagement to decide how to spend part of a public budget. In Cambridge the intention is for Participatory Budgeting to directly involve residents in the budgeting and city-building process, foster civic engagement and community spirit, and help ensure that the City’s budget reflects the priorities of Cambridge residents and local partners.

Past winning projects have included youth center upgrades, trees for city parks, home essentials for newly housed residents, electric vehicle charging stations, laundry access in public schools, and many others.

Last year, a record 8,707 Cambridge residents age 12 and older voted to decide how to allocate Participatory Budgeting funding to address community needs. That participation was a 15% increase from the previous cycle. Since the inaugural process in 2014, the City of Cambridge has collected more than 7,000 ideas, counted more than 56,000 votes, and committed nearly $7.5 million to Participatory Budgeting projects across nine cycles.

“Building off of last year’s record turnout, we are proud to give Cambridge residents even more opportunities to suggest improvements that are most important to them,” said Cambridge City Manager Yi-An Huang. “Participatory Budgeting has helped transform Cambridge and the additional $1 million in funding, along with enhanced opportunities for community input, will help make our 10th cycle the best one yet.”

Between October 2023 and February 2024, volunteer Participatory Budgeting delegates will research project ideas and work with City Staff to develop proposals that will be presented for a community vote in March 2024. All Cambridge residents age 12 and older will be able to participate in the voting process, which will be available online, in-person at several Cambridge locations, and over the phone during the March 2024 voting period. 

Cambridge Residents interested in volunteering as Participatory Budgeting delegates can visit pb.cambridgema.gov/volunteer2

For updates and the latest information about the Participatory Budgeting process, please visit pb.cambridgema.gov, contact the Budget Office at 617-349-4270 or email pb@cambridgema.gov

Page was posted on 9/11/2023 9:58 AM
Page was last modified on 10/5/2023 10:14 AM
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