Sept. 28, 2014 By Michael Florio
Astoria residents will soon have a direct say on how $1 million in city funds will be spent in the district.
Councilman Costa Constantinides, who allocated discretionary funds toward local parks, libraries and trash cleanups this year, will be introducing participatory budgeting in the 2015/2016 fiscal year, where about 30% of the discretionary funds he receives will be put it in the hands of the community to spend.
The participatory budgeting program allows residents to determine where to allocate funds for capital projects. The community might decide to spend funds on, say, improving an Astoria park to funding a dog run.
The process involves holding a series of town hall meetings and workshops where residents present their ideas to the community and a vote is held on whether an item is worth funding.
Constantinides will be hosting three participatory budgeting meetings over the course of the next two months. The first meeting will be at PS 234 (30-15 29th Street) on Oct. 22, with the second at PS 122 (21-21 Ditmars Blvd) on Oct. 27. The third meeting will be held on Nov. 19 at Astoria Community Center (4-05 Astoria Blvd).
“This will be a transformative moment in Astoria,” Constantinides said. “For the first time, residents will directly be able to make decisions about how taxpayer money is spent. It is my hope that this will make government more transparent and accessible to the people.”