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    Posted July 16, 2014 by

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    Anne Hidalgo gives citizens the budget key


    Anne Hidalgo, the first woman to be elected mayor of the city of Paris in March 2014, said last Wednesday she wishes to give citizens the key of the budget as she proposed, "a participatory budget,” an innovative measure, "an innovative democratic major global" on the budget of the city of Paris. She believes this participatory budget should help fight against the discredited politics allowing citizens to reclaim issues of the city via a form of citizen coproduction.
    Looking back, this budget system was invented in 1989 by Porto Alegre, and has been used in different states. In France, it has been tested in the city of Grigny, a town in Rhone and saw great success. Parisians will receive 71 million euros per year, and 426 million for the six-year mandate. They are the ones who will directly determine those budgets. 50 million euros will be used for projects in the vicinity of Paris and in the districts whereas 20 million will cover the damage fund projects on a larger scale, such as the construction of a library and green spaces. After a discussion between elected representatives and municipal services, the people of Paris, can vote and make the final budgetary decisions, through an electronic vote being “final cut.”
    Jean-François Martins, elected Modem whose task is to analyze the project’s feasibility, announced four phases to develop the participatory budget. First, it collects ideas; propose projects by means of everyone’s participation through neighborhood councils or via internet. The second phase is that of expertise, being selection and negotiation of projects, involving city services as well as associations. And lastly, the decision phase via an electronic vote or a call for local referendum in City Hall. Then a briefing on the selected project and its development phases is discussed.
    According to the cooperation of Swiss development (DDC), the method consists of four principles: reorientation of the public resources in favor of the poorest, creation of new relations between townships and citizens, rebuilding social ties and inventing of a new democratic culture.
    Yves Cabannes, former coordinator of the Urban Management Plan of the United Nations explains that "it is a process where the inhabitants of the city decide what will either be a part or a whole usage in public resources". They will prioritize the actions the public powers will execute.
    This participatory budget is the most ambitious experiment in a northern country and the largest participatory budget in the world, according to Anne Hidalgo.

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