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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Budget battle at St. Petersburg City Hall tonight



ST. PETERSBURG -- City Council member Karl Nurse is trying to stop Mayor Rick Baker and the City Council from adding to the city's healthy reserves.

Here's the e-mail he sent out to social service groups:

The St. Petersburg City Council will hold a public hearing Monday at 6 PM in City Hall to decide if it will
put an additional $2 Million dollars into reserves for a future rainy day or will it look into our community and
see that this is the worst recession of our lives!  Please come out and share your opinion.
I have proposed that we allocate these funds in the areas of  Housing assistance, Social Services, Economic Development and Children’s services.  They will need to be targeted to one time expenses that will create jobs, lower the operating costs of non-profits, provide marketing funds, and/or replace other funding that has been cut.
"Here are a few examples. CASA has had budget cuts of about 30% from a range of sources even while the needs for spouse abuse help goes up in a recession.  The Free Clinic is experiencing the greatest need ever while suffering budget cuts. Shelters of all kinds are full and having to cut beds.  The non-profits and arts organizations are facing both budget cuts and reduced private contributions.  All agencies with buildings are facing rising energy costs and need to invest so as to slow this down. The city’s Housing Dept lost all funding in several categories from the State and will run out of funds are many programs during the year.
"Please spread the word. We need 2 additional Council members who understand that our responsibility is
to protect our community in tough times, not simply add to the city government’s reserves."

Council member Wengay Newton also opposes reserves building. Council member Jamie Bennett has said he could support Nurse's measure.

Nurse said he is hoping council member Herb Polson will side with them, resulting in a tie vote that could kill or, at the very least, stall Baker's plan.

Cristina Silva, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 12:19pm]


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