After six weeks of voting, Lexingtonians have picked four projects to implement in the Town’s first participatory budgeting cycle.
Residents chose to fund flashing lights at crosswalks and the bike path ($250,000), improvements to town conservation land ($100,000), benches and picnic tables in community open spaces ($70,000) and a dog park ($85,000). These expenditures are separate from Lexington’s operating and capital budgets.
The Select Board originally allocated $500,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funding to participatory budgeting. The top three projects amounted to a total of $420,000. Adding the fourth choice (the dog park) brought the total to $505,000, so the Select Board voted to authorize $5,000 more in ARPA funding to accommodate the fourth project.
About 1,650 community members cast votes to choose among 13 projects, which the Select Board picked from more than 130 original resident submissions. The four projects were selected using weighted totals, “which takes into account the ranking that everyone put on their project selections,” Lexington Communications Director Sean Dugan wrote in an email to LexObserver. About 96% of voters saw at least one of their choices win; 73% saw at least two of their choices win; and approximately 27% saw at least three of their choices win, he added.
“We’ll be working with the appropriate Town departments in the coming weeks and months to begin implementation of these projects,” Dugan wrote.