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Let’s help our Alderman Invest in our community

October 28, 2011
By

As we all know Austin is in deep need of investment.

One way this is accomplished in a small way is through help from the city through the Alderman’s Menu Fund, a $1.32 Million dollar budget to be spent on improvements here.  Unfortunately here in the 29th ward, according to an AustinTalks article, $162,584 was left on the table unspent.  This is not acceptable.

CANA is requesting that all of its Austin members submit a list of things you want done by next Friday.

 

Examples of what the annual $1.3 Million dollars can be spent on includes the following taken from the 49th ward Alderman Joe Moore’s Participatory Budgeting Program, one that we would like to see here in the 29th Ward ASAP :

The “Aldermanic Menu” funds that are subject to the Participatory Budgeting process can be spent on any project that acquires, develops, maintains or improves a publicly owned capital asset, often called “infrastructure.”

Eligible projects include:

  • Street resurfacing
  • Street lights
  • Sidewalks
  • Curb and gutters
  • Catwalks and courtesy walks
  • Guardrails
  • Traffic signals
  • Benches
  • Bike racks
  • Playgrounds
  • Security cameras
  • Catwalks and courtesy walks
  • Trash cans
  • Community gardens
  • Artistic murals
  • El platform/station improvements
  • Construction of or major renovations to public buildings

Note:  This list is NOT inclusive of all of the projects eligible for funding under the “Aldermanic Menu” program.  Menu money can be spent on capital projects only, but you can propose project ideas beyond what is listed here.  This list is meant only to offer examples of the type of projects that the Aldermanic Menu money has funded in previous years.

The “Aldermanic Menu” funds cannot be used to subsidize personnel costs, services, programs and other operational costs, nor can they be used to improve privately owned capital assets.

Projects NOT eligible for funding include:

  • Personnel costs (e.g., salaries and benefits for teachers, police, fire, health care workers and any other public or private employees)
  • Services (e.g., health care services, homeless services, “Meals on Wheels,” etc.)
  • Programs (e.g., after school programs, day care, tutoring, sports activities, etc.)
  • Minor repairs to public buildings
  • Extended hours at parks/libraries and other public facilities
  • Improvements to facilities owned by not-for-profit organizations, houses of worship, and privately owned homes and businesses

 

Here is an excerpt of excellent investigative reporting from our friends at AustinTalks.org

 

Last year, all four of the aldermen who represent Austin had leftover menu money. It’s not clear why three of the council members — Ald. Deborah Graham (29th), former Ald. Ed Smith (28th) and former Ald. Sharon Denise Dixon (24th) — did not spend their entire allotments, as they didn’t return phone calls or could not be reached for comment.

Here’s a snapshot of how the money was spent last year (with more details at the end of this story):

  • The 24thWard had a balance of $52,500. There were no street or alley repairs — a little more than $1.2 million went to fixing street lighting throughout the ward.
  • The 28th Ward had a $30,000 balance. Moore Parkreceived $1 million, with street resurfacing taking the next largest chunk at $200,000-plus.
  • In the 29thWard, the balance was $162,584. Fixing alleys, curbs and streets took up the bulk of the menu money at a little more than $1 million.
  • And in the 37th Ward, where the balance was just $5,586, street resurfacing and installation of speed humps accounted for more than $1.2 million.

To read the entire article, please click the link below:

http://austintalks.org/2011/10/chicago-aldermen-spend-most-of-their-menu-money/

 

We look forward to getting your requests so that we can help spur investment in the 29th ward.

 

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