St. Pete residents opposed to budget cuts & want millage increase, survey says

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The People’s Budget Review today announced results from 2,000 surveys collected from St. Petersburg residents on how city revenue is spent. Initial results reveal a strong willingness to move away from stagnant austerity measures and instead towards investment in economic development and generating more revenue.

The results show that 71% of the respondents are opposed to any further cuts to services. The survey results also show that 67% of the respondents are willing to adjust the millage rate upward.Perhaps the most surprising result so far is that 43% of the respondents rate economic development as very important, this figure was only behind Public Safety (72%) and Water Resources (67%). When asked how they would spend prefer to spend their tax dollars, respondents raised the amount of money spent by the City towards economic development by 92%– raising it from 4% of the budget to 7.7% of the budget.

“These responses indicate that the people of St Pete feel strongly about taking steps to create jobs, fixing housing and neighborhood problems brought on by the foreclosure crisis, supporting effective youth programs, and actively supporting local businesses well beyond what is currently being spent by the City,” said Lou Brown III, Political Director of the St. Petersburg NAACP.The full results of the survey will be release to the public at an event to be held next week.  “The survey really tells us that the public is supportive of various solutions much more than what City Hall thinks. It tells us there’s more ground to work together than anyone thought.”

With the budget process moving forward, the second phase of the survey process will be beginning with a new survey with questions that better reflect the realities of the options available to the City. The People’s Budget Review will be narrowing the questions asked to give citizens the chance to respond to the Mayor’s proposals or suggest new ideas for the City’s budget.

“The new version of the survey will help us dig a little deeper and so we can give folks direct input into the specifics of the budget,” said Brown.

The second phase of the People’s Budget Review Survey will be available to all St. Petersburg citizens here.

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.