The City Budget Blues
By Anne McKay Garris
The only sure thing about the 1009-2010 Clearwater City Budget is that is not likely to please anyone. Some people think our taxes should be spent on things that benefit all the people, like police and fire fighters and libraries and roads, and such. Others think we should fund, or subsidize their favorite project, like building boat slips for private boat owners.
The first inclusive description of the proposed budget will come before the city council on June 30, when the city manager will present the city staff's best effort on how to allocate the increasingly declining city funds among all the services and "nice to haves" in the city.
Following that, workshops on the budget will be held at City Hall on Thursday, July 9, at 1:00 p.m., and Monday, August 3, at 1:30 p.m. and Tuesday, August 4, at 1:00 p.m. The citizens of Clearwater are welcome to attend these workshop meetings and listen. So far, they are not invited to speak.
Currently, no public hearings on the budget have been planned where citizens are invited to speak. However, rumor has it that the City Council members do read their e-mail and, as one Councilman suggested, "There is always the Citizens To Be Heard on items not on the agenda." He is referring to the time at the beginning of every council meeting when each citizen is given three minutes in which to address the Council on any subject they wish. This could, and probably shall, include comments on what should be changed in the budget.
Not until September will the budget be finalized and approved by vote of the Council.
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