According to results from the third People's Budget Review survey, a majority of respondents favor increasing the millage rate or using reserves over the fire readiness fee.
More than 50 percent of the 1,700 respondents either opposed or strongly opposed the fire tax, which would be a fee collected for every parcel in the city. Only 32 percent of respondents "strongly supported" or '"upported" the fee.
The most popular option was raising the millage rate, with drawing down reserve funds as the second most favorable option. The third survey results mirrored the second survey results, which said 60 percent favored a millage increase over the readiness fee.
“What is most notable from our perspective, is the fact that for the first time in 20 years residents are debating revenues instead of where to cut services,” said Darden Rice, president of the League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area, in a news release.
“We have found that the strongest consensus among residents is that we need to invest in our City. It’s clear that austerity has lost public support and this has been a consistent theme in our survey results throughout this entire initiative.”
During its six-month budget survey collection process, the People's Budget Review received nearly 6,000 responses.
- Slightly more than 33 percent of respondents said they wanted the city to only generate enough new revenues to close the 2013 budget shortfall.
- However, 44 percent said they wanted the city to exceed that amount to help with future budget shortfalls.
- Twenty-two percent said they wanted the city to raise no revenues, even if that meant cuts to services.
To read the full report, click on the PDF below the picture, at the top right of the article.
“It becomes more difficult to reach consensus when we dive deeper into the details of the budget, as this latest survey was designed to do, especially when certain details are changing by the day and up in the air” said Louis Brown III, political action chair with the St Petersburg Chapter NAACP, in a news release.
“This puts some difficult decisions on the table for City Council, but we see the issue of whether or not to raise revenues and avoid further cuts as thoroughly resolved."