Tallahassee, FL- During Wednesday's (4/13) city commission meeting, poster boards peppered with stickers covered the wall, each dot symbolizing a voice.
April 5th through the 7th, 219 people turned out to help shape the proposed 2012 Tallahassee budget by showing their highest and lowest priorities. Each person was given 12 green stickers for high priority and 12 red stickers for low priority.
Commissioner Gil Ziffer says, "The people that were using the red dots, I saw them use them with great vigor. We need to do things like this more often. As I look out here (city commission meeting room) I see a lot of folks, but probably about half are staff, where as at the Senior Center, that was not the case."
Members with the city say one of the surprising out comes: people were ranking lowering property taxes as a high priority and some had it as a low priority. Some people say they just can't part with their city services.
Commissioner Mark Mustian says, "Everyone wants services, but nobody wants to pay for them. It's also interesting to see some of the survey comments, I'll pick one 'Airline prices are killing Tallahassee, fix it.' Oh, if I could." Mustian replied.
The top high priorities included finical support of the arts and continued support of the Senior Center.
Availability of golf courses and promotion and marketing for Tallahassee Regional Airport were low.
Commissioner Andrew Gillum says, "The difficulty in all of this isn't deciding what you like. it's deciding what it is you want to take away so you can afford what you like."
This is the first time the city has gotten the public involved early on and the most feedback they've ever received. The commission will present the proposed budget in June.
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