St. Petersburg residents get first chance to sound off on budget priorities tonight

ST. PETERSBURG — Residents will get their first official shot today to let Mayor Rick Kriseman know what they'd like to see in next year's budget.

The mayor and many of his top staffers will listen to how people think their tax dollars should be spent during a budget summit from 6 to 8 p.m. at Walter Fuller Recreation Center, 7891 26th Ave. N.

Residents will have three minutes to speak, and many already are preparing.

The People's Budget Review, a citizens group that has successfully wielded its influence in recent budget decisions, is putting out calls to its members, organizer Aaron Dietrich said.

Dietrich said at this point, the group doesn't have specific line items it wants to discuss. Rather, it hopes to get more clarity on Kriseman's stated vision for the city and what that means for the budget.

"We really support everything the mayor is saying," Dietrich said. "But it's an opportunity to take the general and start putting it into specifics. … Let's have a real discussion about what these things mean."

The city charter requires the mayor to submit his budget to the City Council by July 1.

Today's summit is the first of three planned around the city. The others will be May 14 at Wildwood Recreation Center, 1000 28th St. S, and June 18 at Willis S. Johns Center, 6635 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N. They also begin at 6 p.m.

Kameel Stanley can be reached at kstanley@tampabay.com, (727) 893-8643 or on Twitter @cornandpotatoes.

St. Petersburg residents get first chance to sound off on budget priorities tonight 04/22/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 22, 2014 11:24pm]

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