St. Pete set to vote on new budget

09/26/12 Seán Kinane
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Two weeks ago the St. Petersburg City Council rebuffed Mayor Bill Foster's calls to raise revenue through a fire fee for all properties. Instead the city voted to increase its property tax millage rate for the first time in two decades. If the budget passes its second vote, city services won't be cut and a lot can be attributed to public outcry.

The final budget hearing and vote is Thursday at 6 p.m. at City Hall. Recently an effort called the Peoples’ Budget Review has surveyed city residents and found they prefer tax increases to cuts in services. My guest in the studio is Aaron Dietrich, an organizer with Florida Public Service Union, who has been involved in that effort.

Darden Rice, president of the St. Pete area League of Women Voters, also worked on the People’s Budget Review. In July, she said citizens who took the online survey said they don’t want any more city services cut.

“What a positive place that we’ve gotten to where the city is actually debating revenue and that Mayor Foster’s budget completely reflects an understanding that the citizens don’t want more services cut – that we need to look at cost savings, that we need to look at efficiencies and that we need to look at long-term sustainability.”

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