„In our opinion, the participatory budget is the best way to materialize civic activity. It brings tangible results that will be visible for years.“
Tereza Rödlingová, City Development Strategy Officer
Shaping Chomutov Together
Chomutov, as a small town in the north-west of the country, faces challenges such as population outflow, as its citizens feel detached and overlooked by their town. To prevent these challenges in future the town has found a simple solution in the form of a participatory budget permitting inhabitants to take part in shaping their town and investment allocation. At the same time they gain an insight into how their municipal council works and establish closer contact with its representatives.
Cooperation began towards the end of 2016, when town representatives met with experts from Decision 21, organizing a conference. The town promised the involvement of its inhabitants in discussions at public meetings and the activation of their friends.
As the participatory budget also presents a certain risk for the town’s reputation, Chomutov did not want to leave anything to chance. The town was aware of the role of communication activities, which is why the town hall made use of the advisory service of the Decision 21 consultants for communicating with, and addressing inhabitants, which guaranteed success and a friendly atmosphere in the first participatory budget project year.
The total allocated participatory budget was CZK 5,000,000. The vote was taken at end of May and beginning of June 2017 and was attended by 2,082 voters. This is a really high level of participation in comparison to some much larger towns or cities.
The participatory budget project mainly appealed to the younger generation. 47% of the voters came from the 19-35 age category. This shows that young people are not indifferent to the fate of their town.
Cooperation with Decision 21 and the high engagement of the council staff assured extensive public participation at the public meetings in the course of the deliberation stage where citizens could present and defend their own projects.
These were the most successful projects:
What is even more important, though, is that the town managed to successfully engage its citizens in public affairs, to materialize their ideas and to win the trust of the town’s population.
One of the largest and oldest participatory budgeting processes in North America, organized by the New York City Council. Since 2011, the process has grown to include a majority of Districts, giving communities real decision-making over more than $30 million on an annual basis.
In September 2022, the New York City Mayor's Office and the CEC launched the first ever citywide participatory budgeting. People all over New York decided how to spend $5 million of the city’s budget to address local community needs.