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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Hartford Decide$?
    Hartford Decide$ is the first Participatory Budgeting Program in Hartford and the first in the State of Connecticut. It remains the only city-based program of its kind in Connecticut. Members of the community brainstorm ideas for projects that will improve Hartford neighborhoods and/or the community at large. Those ideas are developed into project proposals by community members with the assistance of Hartford Decide$ staff and volunteers. Proposals are put to citywide vote by residents at least 13 years old or older. Winning projects receive funding directly from the Capital Improvements Fund set aside by the City of Hartford.
  • How did Hartford Decide$ begin?
    Hartford 2000 (known as Hartford NEXT now) was inspired to bring Participatory Budgeting to Hartford after seeing it utilized in other major cities around the U.S. Hartford 2000, in partnership with the Hartford Public Library, City of Hartford, Leadership Greater Hartford, and Metro Hartford Alliance, introduced Participatory Budgeting to the City Council in March of 2015. The five founding partners gave the name Hartford Decide$ to Hartford’s participatory budgeting organization/initiative. Today, Hartford Decide$, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit corporation. A Steering Committee was assembled to oversee the process and formed subcommittees to carry out its work. Today, this is done by the Hartford Decide$ Board.
  • What is Participatory Budgeting?
    Participatory Budgeting empowers people to decide together how to spend public money. It traces back to 1989, when it was first developed in Brazil. Nowadays, it is used all over the world. To watch a video about the Participatory Budgeting process, click here.
  • How is the Hartford Decide$ process funded?
    The City of Hartford sets aside a certain amount of Capital Improvement Project Funds each year to implement winning projects, and only for this purpose. The Participatory Budgeting process and operations are funded by grants secured by Hartford Decide$.
  • How are Board members chosen?
    Board members are selected on the basis of the following characteristics, as expressed through their applications to the Board and interviews with incumbent Board members: Skills Interests Experience Race/Ethnicity Neighborhood of Residence
  • What are Capital Improvement Project Funds and what can they be used for?
    Capital Improvement Project Funds are monies used to benefit the Hartford community at large through the addition of a structural change and/or tangible asset to existing public land or space. Capital improvement projects are undertaken to acquire or enhance capital assets and are differentiated from ordinary repairs or maintenance of a recurring nature. They are required to have a useful life of five or more years. Examples include: Planting of trees at public schools Painting and installation of murals on city-owned property Physical enhancements (such as warming igloos and skating aids) to a free, publicly-accessible ice skating rink
  • Who can propose ideas?
    Any Hartford community member, business owner, or resident may submit project ideas to Hartford Decide$.
  • Who can vote?
    All Hartford residents 10 years of age or older are eligible to vote.
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