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Participatory Budgeting

It’s YOUR Money! This guide will tell you what you need to know to be part of New York City’s Participatory Budgeting process – bringing you one step further to expressing your opinion about what projects in NYC deserve funding.

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Photo of New York City Civic Engagement Commission Participatory Budgeting
Photo Credit: NYC Civic Engagement Commission

What is Participatory Budgeting (PB)?

“Participatory Budgeting (PB) is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget.” (Source: PBNYC)

Why Should You Care About Participatory Budgeting?

Direct Impact
It gives New Yorkers and their communities the ability to have a direct impact on how and where a portion of the city’s money is spent. 

Inclusivity and Broad Eligibility
All New Yorkers age 11 and up, regardless of citizenship or incarceration status, can participate and vote on how to spend the City’s money.

It’s YOUR Taxpayer Money
You should decide how it’s spent. YOUR opinions and voice matter.

Participatory budgeting has been called “revolutionary civics in action”
by The New York Times: “It deepens democracy, builds stronger communities, and creates a more equitable distribution of public resources.”

Two Types of Participatory Budgeting

The City of New York currently has two participatory budgeting processes:

  1. Through the City Council, which is called PBNYC.

2. Through the New York City Civic Engagement Commission (CEC), which is called The People’s Money.


City Council PBNYC Process

Council Members decide if they want to participate and use their own funds for capital projects (projects that build things). 

Details: Capital Projects are for long-term investment in physical infrastructure, must cost more than $50,000 and last a minimum of five years.


  • NYC City Council participatory budgeting began with four Council Members in 2010-2011.
  • Since then, more than 33 City Council districts have invited their residents to decide how to spend public funds in a process called PBNYC.

New York City Council Participatory Budgeting Graphic

Civic Engagement Commission – The People’s Money Process

This process is required by the City Charter and is funded by the Mayor for expense projects (like services and general costs of running city government). 

Details: For these expense projects, there is no minimum amount, but funding from the People’s Money is only for one year and must be completed within the year. 


  • The People’s Money is the first Citywide Mayoral participatory budgeting process in New York City, run by the NYC Civic Engagement Commission (CEC).
  • The People’s Money was launched in 2022 and came as a result of a 2018 election where nearly one million New Yorkers voted for a ballot initiative to create the CEC and mandated it to implement a citywide participatory budgeting program. (The mandate can be found in Chapter 76 of the NYC Charter.)


Timing and Process of Participatory Budgeting

Participatory Budgeting initiatives generally follow the steps outlined below.

This image describes visually the Participatory Budgeting Process in NYC.

(Source: Participatory Budgeting Project,

To see the specific processes and timelines for New York City, click the two links below.* 

City Council’s PBNYC Timeline
Voting ended April 2nd, 2023.

The People’s Money Timeline
Voting will happen between May 1, 2023 – June 25, 2023. 

*Note: both processes are running from September 2022 to June 2023, but the voting happens in different months, starting with the City Council process first. 

How to Get Involved in Participatory Budgeting

1. Check the Timeline:

See where NYC is in the Participatory Budgeting process (PBNYC Timeline and People’s Money Timeline) to learn how to get involved at any given time, and add key dates to your calendar.

2. Share Ideas:

Explore ideas for your neighborhood and submit your own. Even though the window for formally proposing ideas in the 2022-2023 cycles is closed, you can still weigh in.

Check if your district is participating. Then add ideas, review others, “support” ones you like and/or “comment” on them.

For the People’s Money
Read about different projects and “endorse,” “follow,” or “comment” on them.

3. Volunteer

–  Become a budget delegate or volunteer
–  Join your district committee
–  Sign up to volunteer as a poll worker during vote week

For the People’s Money:

–  Join a Borough Advisory Committee (Application is now closed).

4. VOTE. Pick Your Favorite Projects!

PBNYC: Vote in March – April.

People’s Money: Mark your calendars for the voting phase starting on May 1, 2023 until June 25, 2023 and decide which projects should be funded.

Spread the word and encourage others to vote!


“Participatory Budgeting.” New York City Council.

“What Is PB?” Participatory Budgeting Project.

Further Suggested Reading

Understanding New York City's Budget

Published by the New York City Independent Budget Office

General Information about Participatory Budgeting

NYC Open Data

Explore all of the data related to the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB)

NYC Budget FAQs

Learn more about the NYC budget and the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB)