Back to All Events

Public Newsroom 116: Understanding "Menu Money" in Your Ward

  • Harold Washington Library 400 South State Street Chicago, IL, 60605 United States (map)

Every year the city’s 50 alderpeople get about $1.32 million known as “menu money” to spend on infrastructure needs in their ward. These funds are often used to improve streets, lighting, parks, libraries, transit or other neighborhood needs.

So how do alderpeople decide what to spend their $1.32 million on each year? Or how does spending compare between wards? Or even between neighborhoods within the same ward?

We’ll be exploring these questions during our final alderperson accountability workshop at Harold Washington Library (on the 8th floor). With help from our Documenters team and Chicago United for Equity we’ll walk through data from 2012 year to 2018 year. You can check out the 2014-2018 spending via thisOffice of Budget and Management report here:

We’ll also talk through how some wards in Chicago use participatory budgeting, “a democratic process by which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget.” (

Event hosted by City Bureau and Chicago United for Equity

Earlier Event: August 24
Later Event: August 30
African Festival of the Arts