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Cut Social Services, Not Public Safety, Residents Say

A poll of nearly 3,000 Pinellas County residents asked respondents about budget-cutting priorities.

Pinellas County released the results of a budget survey taken be nearly 3,000 residents this week. 

In it, residents said overall they were satisfied with the services the county provided and how tax dollars were used.

The areas that the public said they cut first and were the lowest priority were public services like public housing and financial assistance for utility bills for families in need.

Areas that should be cut last, according to the survey results, were public safety, parks and environmental programs. 

From Aug. 25-29, Pinellas County posted an online survey county residents could take to state their priorities about county services and where budget cuts should be made. 

Survey Results

1. How would you rate the way Pinellas County provides service to residents?

  • Excellent - 15.6%
  • Good - 60.5 percent
  • Fair - 20.6%
  • Poor - 3.3%

2. How would you rate the way Pinellas County provides value for tax dollars?

  • Excellent - 8.9%
  • Good - 45.2%
  • Fair - 35%
  • Poor - 10.9%

Fort De Soto

3. Would you support an entrance fee to Fort De Soto Park?

  • Yes - 69.8%
  • No - 30.s%

4. If yes, would you be willing to pay an $8 entrance fee?

  • Yes - 44.4%
  • No - 55.6%

5. Would you be willing to pay a $5 entrance fee?

  • Yes - 73.4%
  • No - 26.6%

6. What about a $75 annual pass?

  • Yes - 31.2%
  • No - 68.8%

7. Have you visited Fort DeSoto Park within the past three years?

  • Yes - 66%
  • No - 34%

County Services

8. What service comes to mind that the County should cut first?

  • Social Services - 24%
  • Taxes/Salaries/Budget - 20%
  • Economic/Community Development - 15%
  • Parks - 10%
  • Public Safety - 8%
  • Transportation - 7%
  • Other - 5%
  • Environment - 5%
  • Housing - 3%
  • Schools - 2%
  • Utilities - 1%

9. One idea to reduce costs is closing certain branch offices that provide services such as driver’s licenses, paying taxes, and voter registration. Would you be willing to drive further if closing some of these locations saved the County money?

  • Yes - 80.3%
  • No - 19.7%

10. How much longer would you drive?

  • 30 mins - 29.4%
  • 20 mins - 54%
  • 10 mins - 16.6%

11. If reducing the number of county customer service representatives would save money, would you be willing to conduct more transactions online?

  • Yes - 87.9%
  • No - 12.1%

12. What county service would you cut last?

  • Public Safety - 37%
  • Parks - 20%
  • Social Services - 13%
  • Transportation - 9%
  • Environmental - 6%
  • Schools/Libraries - 4%
  • Taxes/Budgets/Salaries - 4%
  • Utilities - 2%
  • Other - 2%
  • Economic Development - 2%
  • Housing - 1%

A majority of the respondents, 64% live within incorporated cities in the county, 98 percent were property owners and most respondents, 62.8%, were between the ages 40-64.

The county said it also conducted a phone survey on April 29 that closely mirrored the results of the online survey. 

Trace Taylor May 27, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Not me. I read about it last week on the train but I never saw it and don't know anyone who did.
Trace Taylor May 27, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Where exactly do tax increment funds come from. Don't all tax dollars come from us, in one way or another, the poor to middle class majority, the people, the hungry and down trodden, those who were diligent at paying those taxes until they lost everything in an economy that our government created and fostered in the name of making the few, privileged richer. Is it possible to sue our entire government for pulling an Enron?
Trace Taylor May 27, 2012 at 02:57 PM
I like the way you think! How many people could be helped with $110M!
Trace Taylor May 27, 2012 at 03:01 PM
People are barely scraping by, loosing their homes, unable to find employment and you want to raise taxes! How about we simply, for once, make all the rich and big businesses pay proportionate gross revenue taxes. How about we legalize marijuana and tax the heck out of it. That alone would fund medical and education. How about we legalize prostitution, an ancient and respectable service, and tax the heck out of it. That would build your new purposeless pier and afford sex workers proper medical and safety. How about we stop paying everyone at the upper levels of government embarrassingly large incomes, limo and bodyguard services, and high end restaurant meals and extravagant banquets when people in this country are starving. How about we start limiting the heights to which oil companies can rip us off at the pump and make them pay income proportionate taxes. The list goes on, and on, and on. How about we start acting like people matter and like we have a speck of commonsense and decency.
Dharma May 27, 2012 at 03:55 PM
WE dont need new police stations we need to repair what is there. We dont need to do all that new stuff until we are all sure that is what is necessary. WE are not only of sound mind but we are also able to understand economics and how it words. I do believe people say, we have a surplus how should we spend it, oh lets just declare the pier unfit. or tell the cops they need a bigger better and more whatever place to do their thing. Sorry its much different we have endless homeless, endless hungry, endless unable to get a job. take that money and continue to pay people who need those service the money they get for doing them. again its called a wage, just like anyone who goes out and gets paid for a job. there is nothing for free here. so lets stop the bull and get honest. fix the pier, leave the police to fix their station. not build them one. good god. how many people do u each know today that can say, oh my house is in need of repair so i will just build a new one. cash is over there.. please.............. wake up, we get what your doing and don't like it. we the people understand budget and if u have enought to build then we must make that choice not you.

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