Atlanta INTown Paper
District 2 City Councilmember Amir Farokhi has announced the final results of his “Downtown Decides!” participatory budgeting pilot program – an initiative through which the public proposes ideas and then votes on how to spend public dollars.
Farokhi launched Downtown Decides! in December 2019 in collaboration with the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District. Residents were invited to submit their thoughts on how to best spend $1 million in available unspent Transportation Special-Purpose Local-Option Sales Tax (or T-SPLOST) dollars earmarked for transportation projects Downtown.
More than 100 proposals were submitted and they were vetted for feasibility by city officials before being placed on a final ballot of 33 ideas. After a month of online voting, 3,479 people voted with 17 projects chosen as winners.
“Given all that’s going on in the world, it speaks volumes that nearly 3,500 people took the time to vote. This was a small initiative in the grand scheme of things. But the lessons are clear. People want the chance to be more civically engaged. They want the opportunity for their great ideas to come to life. They want a direct say in the future of our city. I believe it’s incumbent on us as elected officials to provide opportunities like this. It makes for a stronger, more representative democracy in our city.”
He went on to express his excitement at the diversity of ideas represented.
“We are thrilled with the list of winners,” Farokhi continued. “There’s something for everyone – for pedestrians and cyclists, business owners, persons with disabilities, drivers looking to get where they’re going safely, and those who simply wanted to beautify our streets and improve the quality of life downtown. Everyone is a winner.”
Farokhi’s office will now work with the Atlanta Department of Transportation to develop a timeline for execution of the 17 winning projects. To see vote tallies and more details, visit www.district2atlanta.com/downtown-decides.