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Council reviews discretionary spending process

Photo taken from Common Council webstream

The Common Council is looking at giving the public a larger voice in how city funds are spent.

Around $100,000 annually is set aside for the discretionary use of each Common Council member. In proposing "participatory budgeting," some Council Members want voters to decide how some of that money is spent.

The idea will be discussed Monday morning in City Hall room 1417. About 30 representatives from local agencies are expected to attend.

"It's taxpayer money. They could have a greater say," said Council Member Michael LoCurto.

"It also...engages the community with government and with the budgeting process. It both tells us their priorities but in the same way it helps the public learn about the budgeting process."

LoCurto says those involved might also learn there isn't money for everything.

Josh Lerner, executive director of the Participatory Budgeting Project, will be speaking tonight in Talking Leaves book store. He's the author of Making Democracy Fun: How Game Designs Can Empower Citizens and Transform Politics.


Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.