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Vallejo California First to Enact Participatory Budget Process

Beginning next week a recently bankrupt California city will become the first in the nation to enact "participatory budgeting."

The city of Vallejo is conducting the experiment, which directly asks the public for ways to spend sales tax revenue. Vallejo set aside a little more than $3 million dollars for the process.

Joey Lake is Chair of the Participatory Budgeting Committee. He said the taxpayers will set the priorities from paving roads, to new classrooms, to a community swimming pool or something completely different.


"Instead of saying, the city council sort of deciding one way or another on certain aspects, the city really wanted to find out what does the constituency want to see happen and if they had the chance to spend the money the way they wanted to, what would that look like," said Lake.

Once proposals are narrowed down, the public will vote on them.

The cities of Chicago and New York have had participatory budgeting, but it was limited to city districts.