Participatory Budgeting – The People’s Budget!

What is Participatory Budgeting?

Each year, the ward is allotted $1.5 million of the City’s budget to be used for a “menu” of infrastructure maintenance, projects, and improvements. Projects that are funded by this Menu money should stand the test of time (at least 5 years). Examples of permanent infrastructure improvements might include alley and street resurfacing, sidewalk repairs, park improvements, speed humps, or public art projects.

The People’s Budget, CBS News: Alderperson Andre Vásquez, 40th Ward, explains how the People’s Budget process works. (Video length, 2:54)

Participatory Budgeting in the 40th Ward

Each ward has its own method of soliciting feedback and allocating funds. The 40th Ward has chosen to follow the Participatory Budgeting (PB) framework for a more inclusive and democratic process of Participatory Budgeting (what we call, The People’s Budget). Through this process, $1 million of Menu money is directed toward addressing infrastructure project proposals produced by residents and community committees, with viable projects that meet the needs of the community ultimately selected through a community vote. The remaining $500,000 is held for emergency repairs and other needs that may arise during the year!

Our vision is to build a stronger community with an equitable distribution of public resources through a democratic and participatory process. We aspire to empower people and give the community control over real money.

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What improvements would you like to see in your community?

Community input and cooperation aids us in directing our menu money budget to areas with the most need, which allows us to gain the most value for every dollar.

Have a Repair Project?

Submissions accepted on a rolling basis.

We accept potential menu repair projects on a rolling basis to supplement our own surveying. If there is a repair in your neighborhood that you’d like us to consider, let us know!

Submit a Special Project Idea!

Submissions accepted through September.

Special projects can be submitted by anyone, but only 40th Ward residents (regardless of immigration status) over the age of 14 can vote come November. Submit your ideas!

Vote November 1 through December 31

Your vote in the Participatory Budget ballot in November will determine what percentage of the Menu budget will go towards repairs vs. special projects, as well as which special projects receive funding!

The People’s Budget Committee reviews submissions, vets them (receives cost estimates and timelines) and develops feasible projects into ballot items for public vote each November.

2023 – 2024 Projects

Voting for 2024 People’s Budget is now closed! Here are the top projects that were chosen:

  • Winnemac Ave Pedestrian Safety
  • West Ridge Nature Park Welcome Kiosk
  • In addition, we will likely be able to fund partial improvements at Warren Park with the funds leftover!


The following represents the general timeline of our participatory budgeting process from the collection of ideas through implementation.

Idea Collection, Committee Creation

Neighbors brainstorm ideas of special projects they would like to see in their communities, application are accepted to join the People’s Budget Committee.

Project Development & Vetting

The People’s Budget Committee reviews and vets Special Project ideas.

The 40th Ward Office vets infrastructure repair requests.

Democracy in Action: Vote!

Residents of the 40th Ward vote on how much of the $1 Million in funds go towards repairs, and how much should go towards each special project idea.

Project Implementation

The 40th Ward Office coordinates with the appropriate agencies and departments to make the infrastructure upgrades YOU voted on!

Archived Projects and Reports

2022 – 2023 Projects

In 2022 we had close to 1500 ballots entered for our People’s Budget Program! Here’s what we were able to fund:

  • $580,000 for Street, Alley, & Sidewalk Repairs
  • $200,000 for Western Ave Pedestrianization
  • $150,000 for Left Turn Signal at Foster and Damen
  • $50,000 for Bicycle Repair Stations

2021 – 2022 Projects

In 2021, we had over 2,000 people cast ballots! Here’s what we funded:

  • $750,000 for street, sidewalk, and alley repairs;
  • $100,000 for a mosaic at Budlong Woods library;
  • $91,000 for streetlight repairs;
  • $100,000 for planting new trees in the ward.

2020 – 2021 Projects

In early March of 2020, our office held its first Participatory Budget vote with 441 community members casting a ballot! Here’s what we were able to fund:

  • $700,000 for Street, Sidewalk, & Alley Repairs
  • $170,000 Public Safety Cameras
  • $120,000 Water Fountain Installations and Improvements
  • $60,000 Pedestrian Island on Western / Winnemac

2019 Projects

News & Updates: People’s Budget

Contact the 40th Ward Office

Our office works to ensure you feel supported, connected, and valued. Please reach out with any questions or concerns you may have—we are here to help!