The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced the enactment of the “The Seoul Special City Participatory Budgeting Ordinance” on May 22 and launched the Citizen Participatory Budgeting System, which will enable citizens to reflect their priorities in the city budget.
According to the law, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will organize a Citizen Participatory Budgeting Council composed of 250 citizens, of whom 150 will be selected through applications and an open lottery.
The deadline for applications is June 8. Each district of Seoul will be given six seats to be allocated according to gender and age. The final selection will be made by lottery.
The random lottery is scheduled for June 14 and the results will be announced on site. The participatory budgeting councilors will hold honorary positions and thus will not be paid for their services. Citizens or workers at institutions or companies based in the city, as well as students at elementary, middle and high schools in Seoul, are all eligible to apply.
The remaining 100 people will be selected through recommendations by the city of Seoul, the city council, civic organizations and district offices of Seoul.
In the selection process, priority will be given to marginalized and poorer citizens including the elderly and disabled. The term of the council is one year from March 1 to the end of February. However, the first term is an exception as it will start on the day the councilors are appointed and end on February 28, 2013.
The council will be composed of nine subcommittees including economy & industry, culture & sports, women & childcare, health care & welfare and urban housing. The council members are entitled to make comments on all aspects of the budget for the following year.
The councilors can also propose new projects or undertakings within the limit of 50 billion won for the 2013 budget. Meanwhile, the District Participatory Budgeting Council can propose new projects or undertakings within 3 billion won per district.
In fact, non-councilor citizens can also propose new projects or undertakings to be reflected in the city budgeting on the city website, either by mail or in person.
Priority for the projects and undertakings will be determined by a ‘participatory budgeting gala’ attended by the councilors and ordinary citizens. The city government is planning to organize a Participatory Budgeting Support Committee with up to 15 people to help the council run smoothly and effectively.
Those interested in becoming councilors are requested to submit their applications on the website of the city government under ‘Participatory Budgeting’ (http://finance.seoul.go.kr/archives/5426) by June 8, 2012.
Applications can also be mailed or submitted in person. For further details about the application, call the Budget Division at +82-2-731-6581 or the Participatory Budgeting Network at +82-2-703-0615.