Tartu Lets People Decide How to Invest Symbolic Share of Budget
Tartu residents will soon have the chance to decide how to use a 1 percent share of the city's investments budget.
In a nod at participatory democracy, the City of Tartu decided to institute the alternative proceedings to allow townspeople to propose ideas on how 140,000 euros could be spent, ERR radio reported.
Specialists will analyse the ideas received and put them to a vote. Anyone residing in Tartu and at least 16 years of age can vote, and the final decision will be made by the city in December.
This particular type of participatory democracy comes from Brazil, and it is now used by over 1,000 local governments around the world. It is a first for Estonia, ERR radio reported.
Tartu Mayor Urmas Kruuse told the outlet: "Every Tartu resident can, and must, take more of an interest in their hometown. The more good ideas we can amass, the better the result for the entire city environment."
Tartu CIty Council's Social Democratic faction head Tõnu Ints praised the idea but warned that it could be slightly politicized in a local election year.
"Certainly there will be some battles over what site will be funded whether it is a city district site or a citywide project. But there's nothing wrong with it; election year is a year where we have to think about our city."
The city plans to hold town hall meetings as well, where Tartu residents can debate the topics among themselves and with representatives of other towns. The plan is to put the idea to a vote by September 10.