Jonathan Welle of Participatory Budgeting CLE speaks in Council Chambers Jan. 9, 2023.
Jonathan Welle of Participatory Budgeting CLE speaks in Council Chambers Jan. 9, 2023. Credit: Cleveland City Council YouTube

Covered by Documenters Yorel Warr and Chau Tang

What happened: Public comment returned when Cleveland City Council met Jan. 9 after a four-week holiday break. Five community members spoke in favor of participatory budgeting, a process that lets residents help decide how the city spends some public money. Mayor Justin Bibb and three council members introduced legislation that would support a pilot program. “Participatory budgeting is a concrete, proven practice for getting people involved in the decisions that matter most,” Ward 6 resident Ben Stein said. 

New council member: 
Council appointed Danny Kelly to represent Ward 11. Outgoing Council Member Brian Mooney narrowly won a race for Cuyahoga County judge in the November 2022 election. Kelly is coming from a job with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. He is also a retired construction worker with Laborer’s Local 310.

And also: Council passed legislation allowing the city to contract with the Fair Housing Center for Rights and Research. The center will work with a group focused on vacant properties.

Read the live-tweet thread from Documenter Chau Tang:

Curious about participatory budgeting? Signal Cleveland’s Abbey Marshall spoke with some supporters of the initiative.

Watch the full public comments or read transcripts edited by Documenter Carolyn Cooper on Public Comment CLE (website created by Ohio City resident Angelo Trivisonno).

Cleveland Documenters pays and trains people to cover public meetings where government officials discuss important issues and decide how to spend taxpayer money.