SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A portion of this year’s Saratoga Springs city budget—about $100,000 to be exact—will be doled out to local projects, based entirely on public input. Voters over the age of 18 will have the chance to cast a ballot, deciding which of nine projects will receive funding from the city in late December. Online public voting will be held from Saturday, December 3 through Sunday, December 11.
Project proposals were submitted by individuals and organizations from across the Saratoga Springs community. The Saratoga Springs Participatory Budgeting Committee received a total of 20 submissions for cycle one, with proposed projects ranging from smaller-scale community events to larger infrastructure projects throughout the city.
Commissioner of Finance, Minita Sanghvi, felt it was essential to bring this process to the Saratoga Springs community. “The regular budget process is not easy,” said Sanghvi. “Our democracy works best with direct participation from the public.”
“People will often come to City Hall with problems they’ve identified—now they are coming with solutions to these problems. It is a win-win for the public, community, and city,” continued Sanghvi. “You, the people, really get to tell us ‘This is how I want to see my tax dollars spent.’ We’ve got great projects that people have sent us, and I love the idea that people will have a direct say.”
Committee Chair, Mary Estelle Ryckman, echoed a similar passion for this process. “It is inclusive,” she said, “and I think it is important because the PB process creates a feeling of working together to build our community.”
The ballot for participatory budget voting can be found on the Saratoga Springs website. It will close on Sunday, December 11.