Want to go inside our landmarked lighthouse? Make sure you vote for that project on the participatory budget ballot! Starting Sunday April 7, through Sunday April 15, vote on how to spend $1 million through Participatory Budgeting where anyone 11 years-old and older can vote at Councilmember Ben Kallos’ office (between April 7 and April 15), or online, between March 30 and April 7.
The one Island project on the ballot, $800,000, would support restoration of our lighthouse for public access. This year’s projects are divided up into three categories – education, parks and recreation, and public safety.
Council Member Ben Kallos was one of eight Council Members to adopt Participatory Budgeting in 2014, This year, twenty-eight Council Members are participating in the process, giving the community real decision-making power over almost $30 million in taxpayer money.
Participatory Budgeting is a democratic process where Council Members pledge to allocate their discretionary funds to projects that residents 11 and over can vote on. These funds are capital and can only be used to pay for physical infrastructure projects proposed by community members called “Delegates”, such as improvements to schools, parks, libraries, public housing, and other public or community spaces.
To vote, you must be at least 11 years old and live within Council District 5. In order to vote, you'll need documents proving your name, current address and age.
PS/IS 217’s green roof project was the top winner in Council Member Ben Kallos’ Participatory Budgeting competition in 2015, winning a third of all votes in the district. In 2016, it scored a close third place and earned $150,000 in PB funding. Given the high popular support for green roofs two years in a row, Council Member Kallos allocated the full ask, $500,000, for the Green Roof at P.S./I.S. 217 in 2016. That money, combined with 2015’s allocation of $500,000 and $250,000 pledged by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, financed the project enough to begin scoping.
The school has since been working on drawing up specific plans for the space. Construction is expected to take a year.