On the night of Tuesday 26th April 2022, 13 CoPower customer members gathered via video conference to review the first vote and plan the next steps in this year’s participatory budgeting process. Here’s the meeting agenda we followed.
We started by reviewing the results of the first vote where there was 152 votes in favour of allocating $100,000.00 to doing good works with the balance going towards reinvesting back into the cooperative (subject to further democratic processes being triggered if our annual income was on track to go below $135,000 or above $175,000). There was general discussion about the positive aspects of a process that is inclusive and transparent.
The updated rules for the democratic process coming out of the first meeting were also tabled. There was confirmation that an explicit exclusion of projects funding political parties or electoral campaigns had been included in the updated rules. The preamble on the cooperative’s values had been removed. This was to simplify the process, and to acknowledge that we should go through a separate and dedicated process to formalise our cooperative’s values in an open and inclusive manner.
A concern was raised about making sure the terms of reference and process for submitting funding proposals is as accessible as possible. There was general recognition that we did not want to have the process monopolised by people who have professional grant writing experience. This will be reflected in trying to make the pro forma application as simple as possible.
There was then a bit of a question and answer session on the revised commercial terms with Energy Locals. The answers are listed below:
We then moved onto brainstorming ideas that we thought were consistent with at least one of the cooperative’s three objects (that is avoiding dangerous climate change, building democracy and improving living standards). From this long list we looked for patterns and themes, and from this we identified eight core themes:
All this work is here in our 2022 strategic priorities document. We’ve left in the brainstormed spending ideas as a way to help give meaning to the strategic priorities.
After this, we shifted to an involved discussion on whether we should have a second round vote to set the minimum spend we want to make in each priority area or put out a general call for spending proposals that would fit within any of the eight key themes. The latter would telescope us straight to the third round vote. There was a speakers queue opened up a chance to people to put the relative pros and cons of either approach. In the end, 75% of participants voted to continue with the two votes so that funding will have a weighted minimum for each theme.
It was confirmed that the third customer member forum will be held on Tuesday 21 June at 7pm. The meeting then closed.
Customer members can vote on the themes here. Voting on this proposal will close at 11:59PM on Tuesday 10th May (giving us time to draft a call for proposals that match the relative priorities). Given we are voting on how we prioritise spending $100,000 each customer member has 100 points to allocate. You can distribute 100 points however you like across the eight priority areas. You could put 100 points against one priority or you could split it equally and give each priority 12.5 points.