City of St. Pete budget summit tonight; People’s Budget Review expected to make their case

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St. Petersburg is hosting its second of three Public Budget Summits this evening at 6:00 p.m. at Roberts Recreation Center, 1246 50th Avenue North.

The People’s Budget Review is planning to present results from over 4,000 surveys. The People’s Budget Reiew has posted on its Facebook page, “We need everyone’s voice to build a vision forward in St Petersburg,” encouraging community attendance at the forum.

Mayor Bill Foster and City Council have scheduled these budget summits to meet with residents to try and figure out how best to bridge the gap of a $13 million shortfall in next year’s budget. City residents are encouraged to attend and voice their thoughts on budget issues and priorities for St. Petersburg.

The last budget forum, hosted at the J.W. Cate Center was packed—extremely difficult to find parking and standing room only inside. Eople parked blocks away just to have their voices heard and hear what both their community and elected officials had to say.

The People’s Budget Review has been a strong addition to these discussions, provding input from thousands of citizens on the upcoming budget decisions. Yet, while all agree their work has been invaluable, they have not gone without criticism.

Particularly, The People’s Budget Review was criticized by Mayor Foster and Councilmember Leslie Curran for not having a great enough sampling of residents south of Central Avenue.

South St. Petersburg residents overall voiced their concerns that while they see revitilization and growth in the downtown and Old N.E. aeas of St. Peersburg, south St. Pete is feeling neglected, and that already difficult situations are getting worse with a tough economy and slow to no economic and business development focused in their neighborhoods.

“The People’s Budget Review is going door to door, to bus stations, to churches, libraries, markets, and street corners to make it as easy as possible for you to have a voice in this year’s budget,” said Aaron Dietrich of The People’s Budget Review.

Tonight we will see if their survey base is broader than before and if south St. Petersburg has felt welcomed and included as priority members of this discussion.

Via Daphne Taylor Street. You can contact Daphne at dts.streetmedia@gmail.com.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.