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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

One-week-old budget past time for deep questions?



A week after drawing a few complaints over holding back his 2011 proposed budget, Pinellas County Administrator Bob LaSala heard it again Tuesday when some commissioners wanted presentations by every department on the budget.

Commissioner Neil Brickfield, who was backed by Chairwoman Karen Seel, sought the run down by every department on how it will run next yet.

But LaSala said such preparations by staffers would take hundreds of hours of work, and instead, referred board members to his detailed budget message and appendices that many hadn't fully read yet.

That, however, irked Commissioner Nancy Bostock, who's known for throwing lots of questions people's way. LaSala had pushed back detailed questioning for months until he released his budget. After two years of going through a similar process, Bostock suggested she wouldn't allow it to happen again.

"We can't do this a third time," Bostock warned.

"I think we're best served when we have a full public review so everybody knows what the face of Pinellas County government look like," Brickfield said.

Ultimately, the board members agreed to read the 134-page budget message July 13 by LaSala, then submit questions by Aug. 1. They'll go through a detailed review in August before the final vote in September.

"I don't want you going through the budget process thinking you don't know what's left. Then we haven't done our job," LaSala said.

David DeCamp, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Thursday, September 16, 2010 3:41pm]


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