Measure U provides the funding for participatory budgeting - but what is Measure U?
The Measure U Advisory Committee is the oversight body for the 1cent sales & use tax (est. by Measure U) levied on all purchases related to the City of Sacramento. The funds generated from this tax are supposed to be used to “restore essential City services that had been cut or scaled back since 2008, including those provided by Sacramento fire, police, parks and libraries.” Measure U is a general tax, and the revenue it produces goes in the City’s General Fund and can be used for any municipal purpose. Mayor Darrell Steinberg and members of the Sacramento City Council have said new Measure U funds could be used to build and bolster an inclusive economy, grow jobs and provide housing that is affordable to all. The Measure U tax was originally a ½-cent sales tax when first approved in 2012 and was increased to a full cent in 2019, which currently generates on average $100 million per year.
Currently parts of Measure U efforts and funding are being put into implementing a pilot Participatory Budgeting Program (PBP). (inspired by Philadelphia's Participatory Budgeting Program)*This is a pilot program - so there’s a lot that the Committee is learning & they want to hear your feedback! The effectiveness of the project is also being evaluated by an official third party - Third Plateau Social Impact Strategies
Read more about the progression of the PBP in Sacramento in this SJPC article.
The PB process includes the following phases:
(1) Design the Process: create Playbook
(2) Brainstorm Ideas: all resident of Sacramento that are 14 yrs + can contribute
(3) Proposal development: Anyone 14+ who lives, works, or attends school, or guardian of someone in school can serve as proposal delegate
(4) Voting on proposals: only residence 14 yrs + of the target neighborhoods - this is the next step
(5) Project implementation & management: within the designated neighborhoods
So what's happening now?
$1 million has been allocated ($500k respectively for North East Sac & South East Sac) for participatory budgeting in the City of Sacramento, and over 500 project proposals were submitted by community members and organizations. Delegates from both funding regions have been selected, and have gone through all submitted ideas.
Currently the delegates are working on sorting through a narrowed down set of proposals and working to establish which of them will be viable for the City to put into place. In terms of oversight, it has been established that the City Manager can fund and implement projects without going back to City Council for approval & will oversee project implementation.
Voting in the program regions will begin in the Fall, with polling places opening across both areas in churches, community-based organizations, community centers, etc., all with a focus on ACCESS. Community outreach will begin in the near future.
The implementation of the chosen projects will hopefully awaken the community to the benefits of these types of projects.
We think participatory budgeting can really help people & help change how people think about budgeting decisions.