Ward “Mack” McClendon, founder of the Lower 9th Ward Village and fighter in the battle to bring the 9th Ward community back after Hurricane Katrina has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Help give back to a man who has given everything to his community by visiting his GoFundMe page: http://www.gofundme.com/jokzso
Check out coverage of the People’s Budget Report 2014 in the Times-Picayune: http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/11/can_beans_lead_to_a_more_trans.html
“We would like to show that there is good, strong interest in the community for having a real voice in the city budgeting process, and that those community members can make a meaningful contribution,” said Keith Twitchell, president of the Committee for a Better New Orleans.
Thank you to everyone who came out to our Budget Summit last month! After some serious bean counting, the results are in and we have a report showing you how your fellow New Orleanians chose to spend their red beans. If you couldn’t make it, here’s a break down of what participants received:
- 500 red beans– one for each $1 million in the City of New Orleans’s proposed general fund for 2015.
- Rules of the Game. Some things HAVE to be funded, whether we like it or not. Everyone had to spend 3 beans on the Orleans Parish Prison Consent Decree, 11 beans on the New Orleans Police Department Consent Decree, 4 beans in for Office of the Inspector General (a requirement of the NOPD Consent Decree) and 9 beans on the New Orleans Fireman’s Pension Fund.
- Consequences. We passed out a sheet with a breakdown of the city departments that receive general fund dollars and an explanation of what could happen if they were under funded. Think the Department of Miscellaneous is an easy place to cut funds? Guess what? That’s major funding for the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORDC), the Council on Aging, and Public Defender’s Office. We tried to give folks an idea of why each department is important to the functions of our city.
- Priority Sheets: What do you want those beans to fund the most? For example, spending a few extra beans on the NOPD doesn’t just mean putting more cops on the street– it can mean funding for better community relations. We wanted people to have the chance to tell us exactly what they wanted to see their tax dollars spent on.
- Surveys: We asked folks what departments they felt were over funded or underfunded in the current budget. How do they feel about our current budget process?
And the results? Here’s a quick breakdown, but check out PeoplesBudgetSummitReport2014 to learn more:
- Better spending for Children and Families
- Less spending on Public Safety
- Overall, residents are not happy with the current budget process and do not feel involved
The New Orleans City Council has begun hearings for the proposed 2015 budget. You can find the schedule here and know when to learn more about funding for the department that matters the most to you. All hearings take place in Council chambers from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Here are some highlights:
- 10/31: NOPD Consent Decree funding (Department of Miscellaneous)
- 11/7: Sheriff’s Office (Note: begins at 1:30 p.m.)
- 11/10: New Orleans Public Library, Regional Transit Authority
- 11/12: Department of Public Works, Office of the Inspector General, Independent Police Monitor
Be a part of the first-ever People’s Budget for New Orleans! Tell us– and city leaders– how you would spend tax dollars. We’re asking New Orleanians from every corner of the city to come out and participate in an interactive budget night.
Each participant will receive a hand full of pennies, each representing a portion of the city’s budget. Each penny can be put in a jar representing a city department based on YOUR priorities. Of course, some things– like the consent decrees and the NOFD Pension Fund– have to be funded first! See how quickly you run out of pennies for your favorite programming? Help us come up with new ideas for revenue as well!
At the end of the night, the pennies will be counted and we’ll write a report letting everyone know what the people of New Orleans see as their highest funding priorities. Come out and let your voice be heard! Food and drinks will be provided.
Want to join us? RSVP here!
Thank you to everyone who attended our three community information sessions over the past several weeks! We had a blast getting to know some new people and spread our ideas about how we can make our voices heard in the city’s budgeting process. If you weren’t able to make any of the events but still want to know more, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
At the three meetings, held in New Orleans East, Algiers, and Mid-City, we talked to community members about how the current budget process works, what we think we can do to improve it, and what events we have coming up next. We love to see people out and learning about their city!
Join the folks of Fix My Streets next Tuesday night to hear about the City’s plans to fix streets in the upcoming years. According to the group’s Facebook page, Mayor Landrieu does NOT plan to attend, but will be sending representatives. How do you think the Mayor should respond to the city-wide call for better streets? What neighborhoods do you think should see priority?
According to the head of DPW, Lt. Col. Mark Jernigan, the city has commissioned the first city-wide assessment of all streets since Hurricane Katrina in order to prioritize fixes. Without another bond issuance on the November ballot however, there are currently no funds that could pay for such repairs, with the exception of some FEMA funds.
To learn more about the Town Hall Tuesday night, visit Fix My Streets website: http://www.fixmystreetsnola.com/fix-my-streets-blog/2014/6/25/citywide-town-hall-meeting-with-mayor-landrieu-and-councilpersons
Congrats to the youth of Boston who took the lead on running the city’s first-ever Participatory Budgeting program this month!
Ashley-Rose Salomon, youth organizer for Participatory Budgeting Boston, said of the kids, “They determine how it’s done. They get to say something and see it get done. It’s effective, efficient and it’s empowering. It actually brings the power back to the people,” Salomon said. “I feel all too often, especially in marginalized communities, their voices are unheard, so they choose not to vote.”
PB NOLA was featured as a guest blog on the Sunlight Foundation Website! The Sunlight Foundation has funded an interactive website, created by PB NOLA, showing the ins and outs of the New Orleans City Budget. Ever wondered how your tax dollars are spent each year? Who controls them? Soon, you’ll be able to click through a website laying everything out in an easy to use graph! Thanks for giving us a chance to share our excitement Sunlight!
The site will be based on an existing site based in Cook County Illinois. To see how it’ll work, check out their site: