Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Largo officials wrestle with budget-cutting options

City Commissioners got a first look Tuesday at some of the possible cuts coming to next year's budget.

While the proposed reductions are still preliminary, said Largo's Office of Management and Budget manager Amy Davis, they point to the wide-ranging approach city managers are taking in reducing city spending by $3.6 million.

"This is kind of the first discussion. The beginning of a long process. This is our first attempt to share what staff believes are viable reductions," Davis said.

Some of the cuts are simple: eliminating $25 Publix cards as holiday gifts for city employees.

Others are more painful, such as eliminating or reducing positions.

"It's a combination of frozen positions, vacant positions and layoffs," Davis said.

Some positions on the chopping block include a fire inspector, grant writer, summer camp assistant directors, a records management technician and an emergency medical technician.

While some of the proposed cuts were met with limited opposition, commissioners spoke out against cuts in the city's police and fire departments.

"Reducing Squad 41 from two EMTs to one, I have a real problem with that. Government's first responsibility should be public safety," said Commissioner Curtis Holmes.

While several threatened police department positions are vacant, potential cuts there drew criticism from Mayor Patricia Gerard.

"I have a real problem with cutting nine positions out of the police department. That's a huge reduction," Gerard said.

Other departments are pitching increased fundraising to keep programs from being dropped.

Joan Byrne, the city's park director, said the Tutterow Dancers, the city-sponsored dance studio, would commit to raising $5,000 rather than increasing fees and losing its competitive edge with other local studios.

Police Chief Lester Aradi said his department has not been filling vacant officer positions because of the chance the jobs may soon be eliminated.

"It didn't make any sense to hire people, put them through extensive training, then potentially give them pink slips on Oct. 1," Aradi said.

City Manager Mac Craig said cuts to the police and fire departments were included in the proposed reductions because at a meeting last year residents said they wouldn't mind the reductions.

In the coming weeks, more discussions of what cuts will actually become reality will take place.

"This is something that might be a little fluid," said Davis, the city's budget manager.

Largo officials wrestle with budget-cutting options 03/23/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 8:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lightning picks defenseman Cal Foote

    Blogs

    While the Lightning is still trying to bolster its blueline via trade, it selected a big, right shot defenseman Cal Foote at No. 14 overall Friday in the NHL Draft.

    Cal Foote is the son of former Avs defenseman Adam Foote.
  2. Kids today: They don't work summer jobs the way they used to

    Business

    WASHINGTON — It was at Oregon's Timberline Lodge, later known as a setting in the horror movie The Shining, where Patrick Doyle earned his first real paycheck.

    Teens Ben Testa, from left, Hannah Waring and Abby McDonough, and Wegmeyer Farms owner Tyler Wegmeyer walk the strawberry rows at the Hamilton, Va., farm in late May.
  3. Jeb Bush back in the hunt for the Marlins, now opposing Derek Jeter

    Blogs

    Associated Press:

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has switched sides in pursuit of the Miami Marlins, and he’s trying to beat out former teammate Derek Jeter.

  4. The Lightning's 2017-18 road jersey
  5. Legalized medical marijuana signed into law by Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation on Friday that legalizes medical marijuana in Florida.