St. Petersburg residents invited to weigh in on 2014 budget, priority for programs

ST. PETERSBURG - You can have a say in how the City of St. Petersburg uses your money.

Residents are invited to help city leaders decide funding priorities for the 2014 budget.

The city of St. Petersburg is hosting three of these summits, the first of which is today, The next in May and then the last in June.

The mayor has to present his budget to the City Council by July 1.

ABC Action News caught up with St. Pete Mayor Bill Foster who says there has only been one viable solution since declining revenues have tightened belts at city hall.


"Cut. You have to reduce your spending," he said, "we've already done the fees, we've already done the millage rate increases."

The main draw for people at these summits over the past five years has seen continuing cuts.

The city started this fiscal year nearly $3 million in the hole.

Mayor Foster says the first summit held tonight will focus on citizens telling city officials what they don't want to see trimmed.

He told ABC Action News he doesn't plan on asking for property tax increases this upcoming fiscal year.

City workers have been cut in years past and St. Pete fire recently saw its budget cut to the point of inducing brownouts.

But what cuts could possibly be made? 

Bill Foster wouldn't say what, but he made references to other ways the city could try to close the gap.


"Are there areas where you can privatize or put something in the private sector because they can do things more efficiently, less money? Yeah, there's all sorts of things that we're looking at," he said.

The first summit tonight will be held at the Willis S. Johns center near Martin Luther King and 62 nd avenue north in st. Pete from 6 p.m. To 9 p.m.

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