Participatory Budgeting Vote 2015: April 11-19

Councilwoman urges residents to get out and vote

This year’s Participatory Budgeting voting in Mott Haven kicks off on April 11 and will run through April 19. City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito has pledged to devote $2 million from her discretionary budget to the five items that receive the most votes from residents of her district, which includes East Harlem and Mott Haven.

This year’s items include air conditioning at local schools and repairs in some of the area’s most neglected public housing complexes.

Last year, Council Speaker Mark-Viverito put $1 million into the pot, all of which went to East Harlem because the five projects that received the most votes were from the Manhattan part of the district. With an additional million dollars slated for the initiative this year, Mark-Viverito explained in an April 10 phone conversation, the pot will be divided evenly—$1 million for the Manhattan side of her district and $1 million for Mott Haven. 

In addition, Mark-Viverito said she expects the votes will be much more evenly cast between her East Harlem and Mott Haven constituents this year.  Radical redistricting of the area in 2014 meant that many Mott Haven residents were included in her district for the first time. Now local residents are more familiar with her as their representative, and with the participatory budgeting process, she said.

When Mark-Viverito introduced the initiative in the district in 2011, she was one of only four City Councilmembers to devote a slice of their capital budgets to Participatory Budgeting. That number is now up to 24 Councilmembers, including three others from the Bronx, along with the speaker.

The items that are up for a vote were decided on during community meetings held in the district over the past several months. In all, there are 27 items on this year’s ballot, nine of which are in Mott Haven.

Voters must be at least 14 years of age, and are urged to bring a valid form of ID when they come to the polls. Voters can vote for up to five items.

Here is a listing of items residents are being asked to vote on this year, as well as a listing of venues where you can vote:

Voting items

-$400,000 in improvements to green spaces for recreational and communal purposes at Millbrook Houses.

-$450,000 in grounds improvements at Patterson Houses.

-$600,000 for roof repair at Mitchel Houses.

-$100,000 for bus countdown clocks at various area MTA lines, to let riders know when the next bus will arrive.

-$500,000 for an air conditioning system at 345 Brook Avenue for schools X343, X224 & X334. Installation of 1 air conditioning system at PS 161x at 628 Tinton Ave. and 345 Brook Ave.

-$400,000 for technology upgrades at the Academy of Applied Math & Technology, South Bronx Preparatory School, PS 161 and International Community High School.

-$150,000 for bathroom renovations at MS/HS 223 at 360 E. 145th Street.

-$500,000 for two HVAC units at PS 179, PS 369 and PS 352, 468 E. 140th Street.

-$100,000 for technology upgrades at E. Roberts Moore Senior Center & Betances Community Center.

Dates and venues:

Sat 4/11 10a-2p Mott Haven Library 321 E. 140th St

Sun 4/12 10a-2p St. Mary’s Park 450 St. Ann’s Ave

Mon 4/13 10a-2p Sauti Yetu 2417 3rd Avenue

Mon 4/13 – Fri 4/17 10a-5p Bronx District Office 214 St. Ann’s Avenue btwn 138th and 137th streets

Tues 4/14 10a-2p Mott Haven Library 321 E. 140th St.

Wed 4/15 10a-2p Sauti Yetu 2417 3rd Avenue

Thu 4/16 2-7p Abraham House 340 Willis Avenue

Fri 4/17 5p-8p St. Mary’s Park 450 St. Ann’s Ave

Sat 4/18 10a-2p Abraham House 340 Willis Avenue