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Support building for participatory budgeting

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

The Common Council chamber Thursday night was full supporters of participatory budgeting as they offered thoughts on how to give the public a voice in how the city spends its capital money.

It's an idea used around the world which is spreading across this country, the idea of having public meetings where citizens thrash out what they see as the priorities and what to spend money on. The plan takes control of some money away from the usual practices in government.

In New York City, some Council districts have $1 million that is divided by participants.

During Thursday night's meeting, Janice Nelson says there should be more resources for young people, like keeping schools open in the evening.
"My concern is the youth, that they have nothing. And, I'd like to see some programs put in place and see some money come, so that these children who are being murdered and shooting, killing each other it can be reversed and can be turned around," Nelson said.

There were some other spending suggestions, like nine-year-old Danasia Montgomery pleading for more parks and better maintained parks for young people and their families across the city, which brought cheers from the crowded room.

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.