EMS, bus times and steak
LARGO -- County commissioners and St. Petersburg council members met Monday to talk about proposed cuts to the city's EMS budget. Pinellas County wants to chop about $7 million from St. Petersburg's $12 million budget. The city says that big a cut would be devastating to service. Although all members of both bodies were present, it was apparent early in the meeting that not everyone was happy to be there and that some weren't very impressed with the proceedings.
Facilitator Robert M. Jones of the FCRC Consensus Center at Florida State University and the University of Central Florida referred in his introductory remarks to the 224-page briefing book.
"I've already heard stories about how it's ruined your life, your family life, for the past week," Jones said.
Shortly after, he asked each member of both boards to tell what they wanted to get out of the session. Most talked about wanting a better understanding and possible agreements. Then County Commissioner Norm Roche had his say.
"Success for me at this meeting would be improved bus times for PSTA," Roche said. PSTA is the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, which oversees the county's bus system.
Moments later, County Commissioner Neil Brickfield said the meeting would be successful "if we left here this afternoon and went to Bascom's."
Bascom's Chop House is a nearby restaurant known for steaks. Brickfield then said he was kidding and wanted to find a solution.
-- Anne Lindberg, Times Staff Writer