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Council Member Amir Farokhi Introduces Bill Proposing “Participatory Budgeting” Program for Atlanta

Post Date:12/11/2018 12:08 PM

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Council Communications
Atlanta City Hall
55 Trinity Ave. S.W.
Atlanta, GA 30303

Talia Moffitt
Public Information Officer – Council Communications
(404) 546-1835 / (404) 326-6506

Tony Lucadamo
Council member Amir Farokhi
(404) 713-8807

December 11, 2018

Council Member Amir Farokhi Introduces Bill Proposing “Participatory Budgeting” Program for Atlanta

ATLANTA – Council member Amir Farokhi introduced legislation Dec. 3 that would amend the City Charter to fund Participatory Budgeting (PB) in Atlanta (Legislative Reference 18-O-1768). With PB programs, residents propose capital projects for their communities, create a ballot of the best ideas, and vote on which projects to implement free of government interference. PB programs have successfully been implemented in the U.S. and globally, from Seattle and Chicago to Paris and Madrid.

If passed, the legislation would be a marked step forward for the city and empower residents to improve their neighborhoods, Farokhi said.

“We have residents who feel disengaged, don’t trust their government, and feel that their most immediate needs are falling on deaf ears,” he said. “This bill addresses all of the above. It gives residents a direct say in how tax dollars are spent. Residents know better than City Hall what their neighborhood needs most. So, let’s empower them to act on it.”

Farokhi’s bill envisions a slow, careful build before citywide participatory budgeting is implemented.

“My bill asks that two percent of the City’s general fund eventually be set aside for participatory budgeting. That would have been a little more than $1 million per council district this year,” he said. “But we have to walk before we can run. We need to pilot this in a few districts to prove that it can work. Afterwards, we can scale it across the City for every district.”

Farokhi hopes to get funding for his pilot as part of the fiscal year 2020 budget, which will be approved in June 2019. He has already begun making his case around City Hall.

“I hope to gain the support of my colleagues and the Mayor. Participatory budgeting would mark an important, ambitious step for us. The moment calls for this in Atlanta.”

Atlanta City Council

The Atlanta City Council is the chief policy-making body for the City of Atlanta. It acts by considering and enacting all laws that govern the City. The council also approves the operating and capital budgets for the City as recommended by the mayor, and it continually monitors revenues and expenditures for local government operations. The Atlanta City Council reviews and has final say on many land-use and zoning matters. Major economic development projects for the City also fall under the council’s consideration.

The Atlanta City Council is comprised of 12 districts and three at-large posts. Council representatives include: Council President: Felicia A. Moore; District 1: Carla Smith; District 2: Amir Farokhi; District 3: Vacant; District 4: Cleta Winslow; District 5: Natalyn Mosby Archibong; District 6: Jennifer N. Ide; District 7: Howard Shook; District 8: J.P. Matzigkeit; District 9: Dustin Hillis; District 10: Andrea L. Boone; District 11: Marci Collier Overstreet; District 12: Joyce M. Sheperd; Post 1 At-Large: Michael Julian Bond; Post 2 At-Large: Matt Westmoreland; and Post 3 At-Large: Andre Dickens.

Council information, committee agendas and more may be found on the Atlanta City Council website here. Video archives of the council’s regularly scheduled meetings, committee meetings and work sessions may be found here.


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