The municipality of Utrecht wants to let residents decide through a citizens’ council about the interpretation of the turn of the year. This would make Utrecht the first major city to let residents choose how best to celebrate New Year’s Eve.
The city council still has to agree with the council’s proposal, but according to RTV Utrecht there is a good chance that a motion to introduce such a citizens’ council was passed almost unanimously last year.
During a citizens’ consultation, a large group of residents issues a weighty advice that is adopted in principle. In Utrecht, there are a hundred people who are selected by lottery.
“The only reason why an advice may be rejected is if it is not legally, financially or practically feasible,” says alderman Eva Oosters.
Participants receive a compensation of 400 to 500 euros. A total of 2000 Utrecht residents will receive an invitation to the draw, so that a representative group can then be put together. The proposal is to invite people from the age of 14.
Interpreter and childcare
“We also call after it and go door to door, to ensure that you really speak to as large a group of Utrechters as possible about such a theme, and that it is a diverse group. So we take that very seriously,” says Alderman Eastern.
Participation in the citizens’ consultation is made as accessible as possible. Food is arranged at the meetings, an interpreter is present, and childcare is made available.
If the city council agrees to the proposal, the municipality wants to start the first citizens’ consultation next fall. The inhabitants then decide what the turn of the year will look like more than a year later, i.e. in 2024-2025.
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