Voters now have the chance to say yea or nay on Issue 38, or the People’s Budget. If passed, Issue 38 would add a new chapter to Cleveland’s charter that creates a process for residents to make more direct spending decisions. Below are some answers to questions about how much money would be spent if voters approve Issue 38 and how it might affect the city’s budget. Read the full text of the proposed charter amendment.
What would the process for spending People’s Budget money be?
Cleveland residents age 13 and older would be able to share ideas for projects, give feedback on ideas and vote on proposals. City staff would likely help vet the feasibility of the different projects before they would go to residents for consideration.
Would this be like voting in a regular election?
The People’s Budget Steering Committee would decide the details of running the process including: how proposals are made and how voting would work.
It would also be up to the committee to decide whether voting would happen in person or online and how to make sure the counts are accurate. The county elections board would not have to conduct a People’s Budget vote. The committee would have to come up with a process for counting votes citywide and by neighborhoods and verifying the identity of Cleveland residents, including those as young as 13 who would be eligible to vote.
Does Cleveland City Council get to approve the money spent?
Normally contracts or expenses topping $50,000 must be approved by City Council. The charter amendment exempts the People’s Budget spending from that process. The contracts would still have to go through the city’s Board of Control.
Would steering committee meetings be open to the public?
The committee would hold open meetings announced to the public and publish a record of its decisions. The charter would also require that the committee hold a public forum once a year for residents to give input on how the process is working.