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FY23 Budget Engagement

Public engagement was the cornerstone of FY23 budget development.

The FY23 Budget was informed by residents, who shared their thoughts with the City through a series of listening sessions and an online survey. Read about the public engagement process below, and visit the Featured Analysis pages at budget.boston.gov to learn about the transformative investments that were shaped by public feedback.

Budget Engagement Overview

In early 2022, Mayor Michelle Wu and the Office of Budget Management (OBM) announced a listening tour and multilingual digital survey in partnership with the Boston City Council. The listening sessions sought to both educate residents and solicit public feedback, ahead of the Mayor submitting the Recommended Budget to the City Council. At the sessions, OBM outlined the budget process and highlighted changes made through the recent ballot initiative vote. Through its passage, it alters the City Council’s role in approving the budget and calls for the creation of a participatory budgeting model. 

The budget is the most direct way the City of Boston invests in the quality of life of its residents. Community engagement ensures that the City is spending its resources equitably and that the process is accessible for residents. Feedback received through the listening sessions and survey have shaped transformative investments in the FY23 Operating Budget, FY23-27 Capital Plan, and federal recovery funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). 

To learn more about the launch of the budget listening sessions and view informational materials about the budget process, check out our press release. The survey remains open through June 1, 2022.

Budget listening tour flyer

What We Heard

What We Heard
  • “More free are public transit and more reliable transit."
  • “Active Transportation: Continue creating a linked bike network city-wide to give people a safe reason to ride.”
  • “Please make safe streets the standard everywhere. Let’s clean city sidewalks and make our walkways more accessible year round.”
  • “I would love to prioritize improved safe streets; dedicated bike lanes; connected networks that bridge neighborhoods; bike and safe walking options for children to get to and from school; lastly safe school zones."
  • Infrastructure that is separated from vehicles, reduced speeds, and greater (non-police) enforcement of road laws such as running red lights/stops and safe passes."
  • “Focus on climate change mitigation and local climate change gas reduction. Health focus on city air pollution reduction inside and outside. Fund inland climate mitigation for environmental justice green space acquisition"
  • Black and Brown children are exposed to more air pollution than white children. Transition BPS buses to an all-electric fleet."
  • “Please prioritize dog parks! Residents without a private fenced-in yard of their own, and/or without a car to drive to surrounding communities' dog parks, have very few options to legally and safely give their dog needed regular exercise in the city."
  • “Please push for adequate funding for EEOS to ensure that the amendments to BERDO can be fully implemented."
  • "Accelerated tree canopy and heat island improvements"
  • “our city needs significant funding for increased and improved affordable housing and for community-led climate/sustainability projects through a social justice lens!”
  • "providing housing to unhoused people, increasing affordable housing and rental assistance."
  • “Affordable homeownership is my main priority, but it should be equally across all neighborhoods, not focused in areas where there is high crime/cheap land.”
  • “I also advocate for allocating more funding for building or retrofitting affordable housing to be passive-house standard, healthier, and green"
  • “More funding for the City Shelter of Boston and thoughts about improving Food Justice in the City”
  • “under Health Priorities, Greater Access to HEALTHY Foods.”
  • "There needs to be specific attention given to the issue of emergency preparedness, from sea level rise to catastrophic events including the bio lab which operates in the city. What is the status of our disaster response capabilities including emergency evacuation routes? Are we educating our children and families as to how to respond to specific emergencies?"
  • “Putting funds into improving access to mental health treatment and homeless services/homeless shelters/issues at Mass and Cass is also important”
  • "The opioid epidemic is not going away - it’s raging & ravishing our next generation. Treatment centers have to be built for long term care. Mayor Wu- a good first step toward Real Hope & health for people suffering from this disease."
  • “Thank you for bringing up the issue of dyslexia and how BPS needs to address the need of supporting our students with the proper IEP services.”
  • “we need more vocational educational opportunities in Boston”
  • “Make sure to pay extra attention to playgrounds and schools! besides home, it´s where us kids and future generations learn how to interact with other people, get the exercise we need, make friends, and learn how to be the best humans we can! Help us make our futures as bright as they can be!”
  • “Would like to know how BPS's long-term build plan works into the current budget"
  • “The City should Increase youth jobs funding to truly provide 5000 summer jobs and 1000 school-year jobs that the City has promised.” 
  • "As well as funding for youth and other jobs and workforce development particularly for BIPOC, low-income and other marginalized communities in green jobs”
  • "I would like to support investment in our arts and culture sector!"
  • "Would like to see substantial increase in budget of Office of Returning Citizens"
  • “It is also important to further invest in police alternatives to mental health crises.”
  • “I would like for there to be [less] of a budget going to the police department, and more money going to programs that directly positively impact harm reduction, like schools, community centers, mental health resources, food donation sites, etc.”
  • “Policing is going to be a large consideration and the public should  be involved. There aren’t enough police available now to respond to neighborhood calls.  Safety should be the priority!”
  • “Community space for seniors to meet (no knitting please)” 
  • “Boston Public Library kept me sane during Covid. Great resource for everyone.”
  • “could you please help organize all the neighborhood groups and activist groups in various Boston neighborhoods so that they can inform the Mayor on issues, be informed of when she needs support, and be able to communicate and organize with one another easily.”
  • “My top two priorities: (1) that budget priorities are well aligned with the plan for a Boston Green New Deal (2) participatory budgeting should allow the distinct needs and perspectives of each community to be supported - a community-by-community driven process.”
  • “The allocation of budget to various priorities is one thing. The measurement of impact of such allocations and accountability of those who receive the funds are just as important.”
  • “Appreciate the transparency of this process. Would be interested in understanding how the city leverages private partnerships for procurement and investment opportunities to build a more participatory budget.”
  • “I think people are interested in knowing more about big-picture allocations and priorities, and given a specific top-line operating number for the upcoming fiscal year, the discretionary process in determining where the money goes.”
  • “I strongly support input from diverse communities across the city and expanding engagement with city officials from multiple departments. Discussions about qualitative and quantitative community-aware cost/benefit analyses are key to funding equitable and effective programs.”
  • "I support imposing high linkage fees on commercial development and not providing commercial enterprises with tax breaks"
  • "City residents could really benefit by Boston nonprofits' contributing Payments-in-Lieu-of-Taxes here. Can we make progress w tax-exempt institutions/nonprofits paying property taxes?"

Survey Data

Survey results and aggregated respondent demographic data through March 4, 2022 are viewable in the charts below and downloadable from the City's open data hub.

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