When defining the concept of “citizen budget”, it is important to know that it is a pool of municipal budgetary funds, the allocation of which can be decided by the residents themselves. In municipalities that are cities with county rights, the establishment of a citizen budget is mandatory, with the minimum citizen budget amount being at least 0.5 percent of the municipality’s expenditure included in the last submitted budget implementation report. Within the citizen budget, residents decide annually on a portion of the municipality’s budget expenditures through direct voting.
The municipal council determines, by resolution, the requirements that a citizen budget project should meet, in particular:
a) formal requirements that the proposed projects should meet.
b) the required number of resident signatures supporting the project, provided that it cannot exceed 0.1 percent of the residents of the area covered by the citizen budget pool in which the project is proposed.
c) the criteria for assessing the submitted projects in terms of compliance with the law, technical feasibility, fulfillment of formal requirements, and the procedure for appealing against the decision to exclude a project from voting.
d) the rules for conducting the vote, determining the results, and making them publicly available, taking into account that the rules for conducting the vote must ensure equality and directness of voting.
It is important to know that the tasks chosen within the citizen budget are included in the municipality’s budget resolution. During the work on the budget resolution project, the municipal council cannot remove or significantly change the tasks selected within the citizen budget.
Unfortunately, in most cases, these are small amounts of money that will not cover, for example, the costs of building large road sections, but they are sufficient for renovation or paving of a small piece of road or for building a sidewalk. Therefore, residents can submit proposals to the citizen budget, and then vote for the project they choose. It can be, for example, the construction of a specific road, but also other tasks related to the construction or expansion of urban infrastructure, such as the construction of a bike path, parking lot, playground, or installation of lighting.