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Is Participatory Budgeting Feasible for Baltimore?

Patch readers share their opinions on the issues facing North Baltimore.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s preliminary budget has of some residents, who complain the city’s priorities are out of sync with residents needs.

But could a participatory budget program make residents feel like they have more of a say in the city’s spending?

A few districts throughout the United States have started to experiment with participatory budgeting, which allows citizens to vote on how they want a jurisdiction to spend its money.

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Vallejo, CA, the first city in the states to approve a citywide participatory budget program, will let the residents decide how to spend the $3.5 million a recently enacted sales tax is expected to generate, according to an article at The Atlantic Cities.

Of course there are major differences between Baltimore and Valejo. The California city only has a fraction of the population, and none of the systematic issues of a one time industrial center struggling to gain its footing in a post industrial America.

Tell Patch why or why not participatory budgeting would work in Baltimore? Post your answer in comments.   

Vallejo Observer April 26, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Vallejo, CA is a charter city under California law. As such while citizen involvement in the budget processwill expand and bring forth ideas that the elected officials not consider as important, the final decision must, by state law, be approved by the city council. This is sort of another aspect of proper checks and balances in the system.

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