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Letter: Participatory budgeting has turned into a mess

Participatory budgeting has turned into a mess

As a resident in the Masten District, I feel that this participatory budgeting process was pushed through without very much concern for the entire district. I attended the planning meetings in the fall, where some great ideas were offered.

The next thing we know, it’s time to vote. How can we decide on what to vote for without seeing these projects first? Voting was scheduled during a busy travel week with kids being out of school. Notification was done by handing out flyers on the first day of voting.

There was no vetting process brought to the neighborhoods. The block clubs could have presented the ideas to their residents and encouraged voting. Instead, a group of people, some of whom don’t even live in the Masten District, picked 21 ideas (out of 600) that they thought would be good for us. Some of the projects are for a small section of the district.

Why are we voting on using our money for lighting on a couple of streets? That is a public works project. Why are we voting for new bus shelters? That’s for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority to build. The projects should’ve been encompassing for the entire district. After all, it’s all of our money that’s being used.

What started out as a great and seemingly organized idea has devolved into a very rushed, disorganized mess. I am very disappointed in this process, since I started from the beginning and was hopeful to be a part of the complete process.

Eric Harvey