Cambridge Launches Abbreviated Participatory Budgeting Cycle

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Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale has announced that the City’s 7th Participatory Budgeting cycle is now underway. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the limitations on conducting in-person events and community engagement activities, the City is running an abbreviated version of Participatory Budgeting. This year’s cycle will be conducted as a half cycle, and a future Participatory Budgeting cycle will be conducted at an expanded level.

Participatory Budgeting is a process where community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. During this year’s cycle, Cambridge residents ages 12 and older will be able to vote on how to spend $500,000 on City capital projects. This multi-month process begins with the idea collection phase, which will run from September 1 through September 30. The proposal development process is scheduled to run into December, and voting will begin in December 2020.

“Participatory Budgeting has become a vital community-building tool that directly involves residents in the City’s budgeting process,” said Cambridge City Manager Louis DePasquale. “Since the program’s inception, Participatory Budgeting has helped ensure that the City’s Capital Plan reflects the priorities of Cambridge residents. Even with the current economic uncertainty, I believe the City must continue this important community engagement initiative.”

“This year’s process will look somewhat different than in past years,” said Cambridge Budget Director Taha Jennings. “As we continue to adapt to the evolving impact COVID-19 is having on society, we have had to shorten the timeframe for the process. We felt it was important to make every effort to continue the Participatory Budgeting process this year and we are looking forward to an expanded community-driven process once we can safely resume in-person engagement and events.”

The Cambridge community has directly voted on how to spend $4.75 million since the inaugural FY16 Participatory Budgeting cycle.

For additional information or to submit ideas, please visit pb.cambridgema.gov, email pb@cambridgema.gov, or call the Budget Office at 617-349-4270. Ideas can also be dropped off in the Payment Drop Box in the rear of City Hall or mailed to the City of Cambridge Budget Office, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge MA  02139.

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Page was posted on 9/1/2020 10:41 AM
Page was last modified on 9/18/2020 6:29 PM
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