What is the Citizen’s Budget
The Civic Budget (CB) is a form of dialogue with the inhabitants and an invitation to make decisions about how Gdynia changes. During this process, residents first come up with and submit projects that can improve the quality of life in the city, and then decide in a vote which of them will be implemented. The aim of the Civic Budget is, among other things, to build bonds in the local community and a sense of shared responsibility for the environment.
Gdynia first launched the CB process in 2014. From 2019, as a city with county rights, it is obliged to carry out this particular form of public consultation under the Municipal Government Act.
Importantly, the rules of the Gdynia Civic Budget are constantly changing. This is due to the desire to adapt the CB formula to the current needs and expectations of all parties in the process – residents, officials, the Civic Budget Council. In this context, the evaluation of each edition and the stakeholder consultation, during which opinions, suggestions and experiences are collected, are crucial. On the basis of these, new solutions are jointly developed. Each of the previous editions of CB is therefore different from the others.
What characterises CB in Gdynia in comparison with other cities is the innovative treatment of the so-called city projects, concerning the needs of the inhabitants of more than one district or a significant part of the city. This relates to the way these kinds of ideas are developed. An important and permanent element is a series of open workshops during which they are jointly refined by residents and officials.
In addition, in Gdynia, awards are given to male and female residents of those districts with the highest voter turnout. In the three neighbourhoods with the highest scores, additional projects are implemented, the so-called first under the dash. They are funded from other city resources, outside the Civic Budget pool. Each CB process begins with an information campaign encouraging residents to submit projects. Officials then check whether the submitted ideas are feasible, working with project authors to achieve the optimal/desired version. Authors whose projects have received a negative evaluation result may appeal against it, asking the Mayor to reconsider.
The culmination of the Civic Budget is the vote, which is accompanied by a promotional campaign. In the final step, the projects with the most support from the inhabitants are transferred to the relevant municipal units to start their implementation in the following financial year.
Under the CB 2014 – 2022, 637 projects were identified for implementation.