BusinessSunday 10 September 2017

In Cluj residents decide how public money is spent

Mayor Emil Boc announced the implementation of participatory budgeting in Cluj, by which inhabitants of the city will be able to vote online on how part of the city's money should be spent

Cluj Napoca

Cluj Napoca is one of the Romanian municipalities that is constantly evolving. In fact, in recent years, Cluj has gradually created a reputation, both nationally and internationally, of being a city of innovation, research and development. Thus, one of the local aspirations was to turn the municipality into a smart city, prone to technology. As a result, technology slowly became an integral part of Cluj, contributing to the welfare of its citizens and giving them the opportunity to take active part at the development of the community they live in.

The latest proof of this is the involvement of Cluj’s inhabitants in the local budget allocation. This involvement starts with a mobile app that will allow people to propose a project related their neighborhood or the city in general. The projects will need to focus on fixed topics such as parks/green spaces, children's playgrounds, infrastructure, public buildings or school modernization. Each project would have to fall within a limit of about 50,000-80,000 euros, and would afterwards be subject to citizen vote.


The first 5 projects under each topic in terms of number of votes will then be publicized at the local level, and ultimately the citizens of Cluj will have to vote again, this time only for one project, their favorite one. Based on the total number of votes, the projects will be included in the city's budget plans for the following year, being financed by the Town Hall and the Cluj-Napoca Local Council. The total amount of money included in the initiative has not yet been established, but unofficial sources mentioned the sum could even rise to EUR 4 million.

Cluj is not at its first endeavor of this sort, a number of edifices in the city being already modernized or reconditioned with the direct consent and participation of the citizens. However, the structural involvement of local residents in the budgetary allocation of the city is indeed a premiere for Romania and an example to follow. By implication, the public openness that this decision expresses can only encourage private investors to come and invest in Cluj and potentially to support some of the projects proposed by local community members.  


Sources: (photo)  

Claudiu Bolcu




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