An emerging process giving residents more of a voice in discretionary City Council spending for neighborhoods deserves widespread community support.

Though only in an embryonic stage, the concept of a participatory budget has shown great promise for more equitable distribution of local dollars on infrastructure projects.

Under this procedure, defined as a “process of democratic deliberation and decision-making, and a kind of participatory democracy,” townsfolk decide how to allocate portions of municipal funding by identifying spending priorities and selecting budget delegates who work as liaisons with city representatives.

In the past, council members were often contacted by constituents on behalf of neighborhood projects that needed looking after. Under participatory budgeting, taxpayers share the responsibility with their elected official of choosing which initiatives are funded first.

It’s a different way to funnel money and has taken hold in 20 U.S. municipalities, including New York City. Only an initial informational session or two have been held in San Antonio, but both Mayor Ron Nirenberg and District 8 Councilman Manny Pelaez say the concept sounds intriguing.

Folks who want to know more are encouraged to visit and

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