NORWOOD PARK — How should we spend our tax dollars, neighbors?
Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41st) has published a ballot asking his constituents to prioritize how his $1 million discretionary budget should be spent.
The open voting process, known as participatory budgeting, has been increasingly used by city aldermen to give residents more input into which infrastructure projects should be put on the front burner.
Napolitano brought the process to his ward for the first time last November, hosting public meetings to draft ideas for possible projects.
The ballot first asks voters how large a chunk of the $1 million should go toward re-paving roads, a task that usually eats the majority of the ward's budget. On average, re-paving one city block costs around $71,000, according to Napolitano.
Voters are then asked to rank four categories of street improvements: beautification, street landscaping, lighting improvements and pedestrian safety markers. Each category lists three or four specific projects.
"This way, you're not just going to be voting based on one small area that you're concerned about," Napolitano said of the ballot structure. "You're going to be helping make decisions for all four corners of the ward."
Voting must be done in person at Napolitano's ward office, 7442 N. Harlem Ave. The office is open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays, staying open until 7 p.m. on Mondays.
Constituents have until March 10 to vote.