After months of working together to collect and review more than 400 ideas, residents of Metro Council Districts 6 and 8 will vote on how to spend $200,000.00 in public funds beginning February 15. The Our Money Our Voice participatory budgeting initiative allots $100,000 per district for projects residents identify as improving health, safety and well-being. Residents age 14 and over will have an opportunity to vote at District Voter Expos or online. Each person can vote for up to five projects.
Our Money, Our Voice is being piloted using $100,000 in capital infrastructure funds set aside by Council President David James (District 6) and Councilman Brandon Coan (District 8), $50,000 in funds from Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness, and $50,000 from the Humana Foundation.
“Our Money, Our Voice empowers neighborhood residents to make decisions about how money is spent in their neighborhoods,” said District 6 Councilman and Council President, David James. “I applaud the many volunteers who knocked on doors to talk with their neighbors to solicit ideas and then vet them for feasibility. It’s exciting that we’re now at the voting phase of the project.”
“The project strengthens democracy by getting people involved in the work of government and in the decisions that effect their lives,” said District 8 Councilman Brandon Coan.“I encourage all residents of Districts 6 and 8 to make sure to vote – either in person or online.”
Projects residents can vote on include alleyway and sidewalk improvements, implementing community center programs, adding street lights, litter bins or drinking fountains, and enhancing playgrounds. Residents can vote in person at “District Voter Expos.” At these expos, residents can meet their neighbors and volunteers who made this opportunity possible and learn more about how the final projects were selected. (See below for more information on District Voter Expos.)
On-line voting will also be available. Residents who wish to make digital absentee votes should sign up with Mobileserve to request a voter access code for an on-line ballot. A link to request a voter access code as well as a sample ballot can be obtained at www.OurMoneyOurVoice.com.
“Participatory budgeting is a way for residents of a community to work together to better meet their needs while having a direct say in government decisions,” said Dr. Sarah Moyer, director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness and Chief Health Strategist for the city. “Engaging the community is essential for public health and critical for helping us get to our vision of a healthy Louisville where everyone and every community thrives.”
Participatory budgeting has been practiced in the United States since 2009 in such cities as Hartford, CT; Greensboro, NC; New York and Chicago.