City of Pensacola shuts public out of budget

Councilwoman Sherri Myers called Inweekly to say City Administrator Eric Olson and CFO Dick Barker got irate when she showed up for a budget briefing with Emerald Coastkeeper Laurie Murphy.

Apparently city officials want budget discussions done only on a one-on-one basis with council members away from the public.

Mayor Hayward has not scheduled any public forums on his proposed budget. The first reading is on Sept. 13–18 days before the budget goes into effect.

From the Budget Brief:

Public Adoption
 July 1 – Official preliminary taxable values provided by the Property Appraiser’s Office.
 July 10 – Proposed Budget Document made available to City Council. (Note: Budget wasn’t uploaded on city website until July 17).
 July 13 – TRIM Rate is tentatively set by City Council.
 September 13 – First State-Required Public Hearing to Adopt Tentative Millage Rates and
Tentative Budget.
 September 20 – Second State-Required Public Hearing to Adopt Final Millage Rates and
the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget.

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6 thoughts on “City of Pensacola shuts public out of budget

  1. Her predecessor, Councilman Hall, regularly invited members of his district to meetings with city officials on various matters. At the time, city staff were open to having a citizen accompany their council member. Particularly, if that citizen held some expertise in the subject matter for that meeting. For example, a citizen who was a financial planner sitting in on a budget conversation. It’s odd that staff were miffed by her bringing a guest. But, it’s also odd that Councilwoman Myers brought someone who is neither an expert in finance or a citizen of Pensacola. Sounds like a perfect illustration of our city’s disjointed and unintelligible work in the past 8 years.

  2. What is next? Declaring that the city budget is a state secret? We shall see if the normally supine City Council demands public hearings and commentary on the budget. I won’t hold my breath. The number of City Council members who stand up for the City Council vis-a-vis the mayor you can count on one finger.

  3. Ah, it’s deja vu all over again. Councilwoman Myers’ predecessor, Councilman Sam Hall, did the same thing one year during his first (I think) District 2 term. I remember because I was one of the citizens he brought with him to a “private” finance-related briefing with staff, though in my case it was the attempt to strong-arm the council into adopting a dedicated fire-services fee. And that was under the previous manager-council form of government. Why does upper management/executive authority get so bent out of shape? Perhaps because you can’t put pressure on a legislator (or blow smoke) when a second brain and set of ears is present?

  4. The voters are to blame for this fiasco. Never should have changed the form of government & once that was done, never should have elected (and re-elected) and incompetent, narcissistic boy child.

  5. To clarify, the City Council is to blame for not having a formal budget process to include requiring the Mayor to submit a proposed budget much earlier in the year. That said, once the proposed budget is received by the City Council, it belongs in full to the City Council that can ignore it, amend it or rubberstamp it. The Mayor has no power to stop the City Council from making changes to the proposed budget and the Mayor’s veto power is limited to vetoing specific line items in the budget resolution. The immediate blame for the lack of budget workshops for the full City Council, Council Staff, executive branch staff and the public falls on Council President Spencer. This is his leadership failure.

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