In the ongoing effort to better serve the community, the Asbury Park City Council has established a Participatory Budget Committee to involve community members, including local youth, in deciding how a designated portion of the budget is spent.
The program, which will begin in 2022, aims to promote equity and empowerment and increase civic engagement. Residents will develop and recommend projects to benefit the entire community as part of the annual budget.
Participatory Budgeting, a democratic process where community members recommend to their government how to spend part of the public budget, is currently practiced in over 3,000 cities around the world, mostly at the municipal level. The process allows for the equitable distribution of funds through direct resident representation and input from community members.
The budget committee will consist of nine residents, age 14 and older, along with a member of the City Council and city staff. Residents can submit ideas to the PBC for projects they would like to see in their community. The committee, along with city staff, will then work with these individuals to determine feasibility, establish a budget and outline a proposal for the project. Residents will then be invited to a public meeting where all projects will be presented to be voted on by the community. Projects that receive the most votes will be adopted into the city’s budget.
“Bringing Participatory Budgeting to Asbury Park is an incredible opportunity for our community,” Councilwoman Eileen Chapman said. “This process will give all of our residents, including our youth who aren’t traditionally able to participate in government, the opportunity to decide together how to spend public money. It allows for every single person who participates to have an impact on decisions that affect their lives.”
To apply to be a member of the City of Asbury Park Participatory Budget Committee, fill out a volunteer application by Dec.21. The application can be found at www.cityofasburypark.com/cityclerk or directly at www.cityofasburypark.com/volunteerapplication