Summer in New Orleans is traditionally a very slow time, but not for the New Orleans Citizen Participation Project this year!
Internal debates within city government slowed the city's process to produce the final NOLA CPP design, but we were privileged to work closely with the director of the Neighborhood Engagement Office, Lucas Diaz, to develop the scope of work and process for this critical phase. Mr. Diaz added an important component that will focus on preparing city agencies and departments to work successfully with citizen input. This will be one of five total components of the process, and we are very excited to announce that it will launch formally on September 26!
In the interim, we focused on one very important aspect of what the final CPP will include: participatory budgeting. Working with our partners in the New Orleans Coalition on Open Governance (NOCOG), we gathered information on the city's newly adopted "budgeting for outcomes" methodology. The partnership then presented a "Budget Breakdown" public meeting, drawing well over 125 residents on a hot summer night to learn about the city budget process and how residents can have input to it. Based in the attendance and the questions and comments that followed the presentation, the New Orleans city budget is not some dry, esoteric subject but a topic of real, vital interest to many New Orleanians. We will be following up this fall with further presentations as well as advocacy training to prepare residents to give their input during the City Council's annual budget hearings in November.
In that the many volunteers who worked to design the draft NOLA CPP model identified participatory budgeting as a top priority from the very beginning, we are thrilled to see this piece of the project really take off.
NOLA CPP staff and volunteers will serve on the task forces that will steer the city's final design process over the next 21 months, and we will work diligently to keep the community as informed and engaged as possible throughout. In particular, we will be working to bring as many people as possible to the public input phases of the project, particularly those community members whose voices are too seldom heard in these kinds of conversations.
We welcome any comments or ideas you may have as we move forward with this vitally important work. Your support is essential to making the New Orleans Citizen Participation Program something that truly belongs to the people of New Orleans.