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Mayor Expands Public Involvement In Boston's Budget, Creating City's First Participatory Budget Office

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June 9, 2021


Building on her commitment to equity and her focus on engaging all of Boston in the City’s governance, Mayor Kim Janey today took two key steps to democratize Boston’s budget building process. The first step was signing off on a ballot question to amend the City of Boston Charter that will strike a more equal balance of budgetary powers between the Mayor and the City Council. The amendment will now be sent to the Attorney General’s office for placement on Boston’s municipal ballot this November. The second step was to allocate an additional $1 million in the City’s proposed FY ‘22 Budget, dedicated to the immediate creation of the City’s first Office of Participatory Budgeting.

“On my first day as Mayor, I promised to bring new voices to the table and include those who felt shut out by City Hall,” said Mayor Janey. “Signing this charter amendment delivers on that promise and creates a path forward for city budgeting that is more democratic, inclusive, and transparent. I want to thank the advocates and the Boston City Council for their partnership on this important issue.”

The proposed charter amendment, which Mayor Janey championed as City Council President, received unanimous approval from the City Council in May. If the charter amendment passes this November, both the City Council and the Mayor will have the authority to amend the City’s budget in whole or in part, a power currently only held by the Mayor. 

Independent of the ballot measure, the amendment also establishes the Office of Participatory Budgeting, which will lead the Administration's efforts around expanding opportunities for community involvement in the City’s annual budgeting process. Guided by a community-based Participatory Budgeting Committee, the Office will be tasked with determining resident priorities when it comes to the City’s investments.   

“CPA works to ensure more voices are heard in government and policy making,” said Karen Chen of the Chinese Progressive Association. “We want to commend Mayor Janey for signing the Charter Reform amendment moving Boston towards greater democracy and equity, where all Bostonian voices are represented in Boston’s city budget.” 

“ACE as a member of Rights to the City of Boston appreciates Mayor Janey's leadership on charter reform as the President of the City Council and now as the serving Mayor of Boston. Charter reform will continue the process of making Boston a more transparent and democratic city,” said Dwaign Tyndal of Alternatives for Community and Environment. 

“We are so grateful for Mayor Janey’s support of this charter amendment. Participatory budgeting will allow for residents across Boston to have direct decision making in our tax dollars, and strengthens our city’s democracy, transparency, and civic participation,” said Roxbury-based activist Armani White.

Mayor Janey recently proposed a forward-looking budget that recommended a $3.75 billion Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) operating budget and $3.2 billion Fiscal Year 2022-2026 (FY22-FY26) Capital Plan. The aim of the budget is to provide the resources for the city’s continued robust public health response to COVID-19, making strategic investments in Boston’s neighborhoods and residents, and setting the stage for Boston’s equitable reopening, recovery and long-term renewal. For more information on Mayor Janey’s proposed budget, visit budget.boston.gov.

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