Tuesday, November 13, 2012

After bankruptcy, California city experiments with letting voters make budget decisions

This could be a resounding success... or be like handing the keys to the vault to a bank robber.  Anyway,

Under a pilot program, Vallejo is using what is known as "participatory budgeting" to figure out where to spend a $3.2 million portion of Measure B, a city tax initiative approved last year. At public assemblies throughout the next few weeks, involved residents are brainstorming ideas -- from youth centers to after school programs, from new playgrounds to music festivals. Any civic project or service will be considered, so long as it fits the financial constraints, and benefits the community.

"I'd like to see the money concentrated on parks," said one man at the meeting.

"I'd like more to go to the youth centers," said another.
They really need to listen to the mayor.

"I have no problems with creativity, but now is not the time to be creative," said Vallejo Mayor Osby Davis. He argues that in a community struggling to get back on its feet, tax dollars should pay for critical city services -- that's it.

"If you talk to the public, they say we want public safety, we want our streets fixed, we want buildings and grounds, we want service -- and we're not doing that," Davis said.

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