What is Participatory Budgeting?

Participatory budgeting (PB) is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. PB gives ordinary people real decision-making power over real money. The process was first developed in Brazil in 1989, and there are now over 1,500 participatory budgets around the world.

Since 2012, Alderman Arena has given one million of its discretionary capital funds (“menu money”) to the community to decide how to spend through a participatory budgeting (PB) process.

It works like this:

• PB begins in the Spring with ward residents and stakeholders proposing spending ideas
• Next, volunteer community representatives take those ideas and develop them into project proposals.
• Finally, residents 14 years of age or older vote on projects, and the projects that receive the most votes are submitted by Alderman Arena for funding to the City of Chicago for implementation.

PB in the 45th Ward is part of the Participatory Budgeting Chicago (PB Chicago) initiative. For more information about PB or PB Chicago please visit www.pbchicago.org


45th Ward residents 14-years-old and up will have the opportunity to vote in the 2019 Participatory Budgeting cycle beginning on Monday, October 1. Participatory budgeting is a democratic system that empowers people in determining how their tax dollars are spent.

Online Voting

For those wishing to vote online, simply fill out an online registration form beginning October 1 at 9 am. Once received, a 45th Ward staff member will respond with the voting site link and a special access code to allow you to vote. Please do not share your code with anyone else; your code is unique and may be used only once. Please note that this is not an automated system; rather, office employees will be verifying the information. This may result in a delay from the time you submit the registration form to when you receive the one-time code.

Online Voting Registration Form

Early Voting

There will be ample opportunity for 45th Ward residents to vote in the 2019 participatory budgeting cycle. Those wishing to vote early in-person can do so at my office during office hours beginning October 1 at 9 am or at one of the following early voting events:

  • 9 am – 1 pm on Sunday, October 14 at the Independence Park Farmers Market, 3945 N. Springfield;
  • 9:30 am – 1:30 pm on Sunday, October 14 at the Jefferson Park Sunday Market, 4822 N. Long; and
  • 10 am – 1 pm on Tuesday, October 16 at the Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence. Ward residents will also have the opportunity to receive a free flu shot at this event.

Final Vote

The final voting event will take place from:

  • 10 am – 2 pm on Saturday, October 20 at the Jefferson Park Branch Library, 5363 W. Lawrence

View 2019 Ballot Items

Idea Collection:

In the spring, community representatives collect ideas from stakeholders that they then develop into project proposals for the ballot. 45th Ward residents have a variety of ways to submit their ideas for the ballot. Learn more below.

Submit an idea online:

Fill out the Google form (below) to share what you think should be on the 2019 Participatory Budgeting ballot.

 Attend a Neighborhood Assembly:

Come to an assembly to share your ideas and help decide how to spend taxpayer money!

Submit Your Idea to an Idea Box or Wall:

Learn What Will be on The Ballot:

After volunteers spend the summer months developing idea submissions into ballot items, join us at various events throughout the ward to learn more about what will be on the ballot and when you can vote. More information regarding outreach events will be made available in the future.

View 2019 Ballot Items