forWard one


What is forWard one?

forWard one is the name of the participatory budgeting process used in the City of Hamilton’s Ward 1 to advise the Councillor on how to spend $1.5 million annually on local infrastructure projects. The Ward 1 process is developed and managed by the Participatory Budgeting Advisory Committee (PBAC), which is comprised of 20 Ward 1 residents appointed annually. The Committee oversees the process to engage residents to develop and select infrastructure projects in the Ward, as well as it advises the Councillor about how best to disburse the Area Rating Dollars based on resident-led suggestions.

Where is Ward 1?

fw1pic3Ward 1 is located in west Hamilton, between Dundas and Queen St. View map

What is Participatory Budgeting?

Participatory budgeting refers to an approach to engage citizens and communities in the process of prioritizing projects for municipal funding. The goals of participatory budgeting are:

  • To distribute public resources in a more equitable manner
  • To engage and empower citizens by including them in a decision making process

First developed in Porto Alegre, Brazil, participatory budgeting is used around the world by various levels of government, public institutions, as well as community and neighbourhood organizations. Each model of participatory budgeting is unique to its locale, as it is developed to suit the local circumstance and needs of citizens. This is the case with the forWard one process in Hamilton’s Ward 1, as well. For more information about participatory budgeting please see the reference links below.

What is Area Rating?

fw1pic5The budget for the forWard one process comes from the City of Hamilton Area Rating Reserve Fund. Each year Wards 1 through 8 receive approximately $1.5 million to be allocated to capital (infrastructure) improvements within the Ward.  The Area Rating fund was established following the modernization of the City’s tax system in 2011.

The purpose of this reserve is to aid in addressing the required infrastructure investments within the former City of Hamilton. The reserve funds are to be spent at the discretion of the Ward Councillors and reflect priorities within their respective wards.

Ward 1 was the first Hamilton Ward to directly involve residents in identifying and prioritizing what projects should be funded using a model of participatory budgeting, beginning in 2012.

You can find out more about area ratings from the Area Rating Implementation Fund Reserve Policy approved in 2012.

20161110_123405When can we submit ideas and vote?

The 2017/18 process dates are to be determined.

References related to Participatory Budgeting

Wikipedia Definition
The Participatory Budgeting Project

Public Agenda

PB Toronto Pilot 2015
PB Chicago
PB Cambridge, Mass