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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Roosevelt Island Participatory Budgeting Info Expo Sunday March 22 - Help Decide How To Spend $1 Million In NYC Participatory Budget Funds Says Council Member Ben Kallos

Roosevelt Island, Midtown East,Upper East Side and El Barrio NYC Council Member (District 5) Ben Kallos reports:
Dear Roosevelt Island,

This spring, you will be empowered through direct democracy to vote on how $1 million in city funds gets spent in our neighborhood, comment on legislation, and even become a Council Member for a Day (if you are a student).You are empowered to help get items on the ballot, evaluate each proposal, and then vote on where you think the city funds are best spent.

First, please join me at an expo with community volunteers to learn more about the projects on the ballot:

3/21: NYPL E67th Street Branch
328 East 67th Street Saturday, 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM. RSVP.

3/22: Roosevelt Landings (formerly Eastwood)
546 Main Street Sunday, 12th Floor community room, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM. RSVP.

3/25: Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center
415 East 93rd Street Wednesday, 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM. RSVP.

Then, VOTE!

Voting will take place from Saturday, 4/11 to Sunday, 4/19 at my District Office and locations throughout the neighborhood. If you plan to participate, please pledge to vote.

The process works: Last year, proposals winning funding were Bus Time Clocks at Westbound Crosstown Bus Stops, senior centers, and STEM programs in public schools.

But direct democracy does not stop at the funding process. It also means that you should have a say on city legislation and open channels of communication with your elected officials. That is why I am pleased to be part of the launch of DemocracyOs, a new tool that allows you engage directly with government. I am excited to support this worthy civic engagement tool. If you would like to vote on my proposals, share your opinions and get a response, or read more about my legislation, please visit

Finally, I am now inviting students to enter the "Council Member for a Day" essay contest. The contest is open to students in Grades 5-8, and one winner will join me at an official session of the New York City Council. The prompt is "What I Would Do as a Member of the City Council." Please email your essay to with the subject line "Council Member for a Day." Parents, teachers and neighbors: Please pass this along to any students who may be interested. Submissions are due May 1st.

For more information on how you can vote in participatory budgeting, please visit
The Roosevelt Island projects eligible for District 5 Participatory Budget funding are:
Study of Sight and Sound $35,000

Audio/Visual equipment with audio induction looping for the New York Public Library Roosevelt Island branch.
504 Main Street (Roosevelt Island)
Green Roof for PS/IS 217 $500,000
Build a green roof for environmental education at PS/IS 217.
645 Main Street (Roosevelt Island)
Here's the Ballot for District 5 Participatory Budget Funding projects.

I asked Council Member Kallos:
I understand that the Roosevelt Island Air Quality monitoring proposal was not selected to be voted upon for the Participatory Budgeting Vote process in NYC Council District 5.

Is that true?

If yes, Why? My understanding was that the Roosevelt Island Air Quality Monitoring proposal was ranked number 1 for Roosevelt Island projects.
The Press Spokesperson for Mr. Kallos replied:
Both rank and feasibility are the determining factors of what gets on the ballot -- and, in this case, the agency that would handle the project, DOHMH, was not in the pb process (and DEP was not the right agency to administer this project). We are happy that 2 of 16 proposals this year are from the Roosevelt Island delegates, so RI will be very well represented on the ballot!
DOHMH is the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. DEP is NYC Department of Environmental Protection.

More on the Roosevelt Island Participatory Budgeting Process at this previous post.