Pretty Pictures and a Game of Charades

city councilA couple of hours into today’s city of Pensacola budget workshop, Councilwoman Megan Pratt took an opportunity to express a “sense of futility” with the budgetary process.

“I was tempted not even to show up,” Pratt told her fellow council members.

The councilwoman contended that the council’s input on Mayor Ashton Hayward’s proposed budget is of little consequence. She also said she was disappointed that the council chose last week not to place any limitations on the mayor’s authority to move money around in the budget.

“I think we’ve ceded over our oversight of the city budget,” Pratt said, adding that the workshop presentations would amount to “a lot of slides and graphs” representing matters that council has little say in. “This is all just pretty pictures here today.”

The councilwoman referenced last year’s discussion on funds dedicated to the Zimmerman Agency marketing contract—which had commenced prior to any budget discussion on the matter—and also noted that the mayor’s stated 2014 goal of addressing the Blount School property, without attaching any funds to the mission, was “a weird way to set goals.”

Pratt said she decided to attend this week’s workshops out of respect for the department heads who worked to put their budgets together, but told council she would not be offering any input.

“Like a good game of charades, I’ll sit in silence,” she said.

Thus far, council has been briefed on the budgets from Pensacola Energy and the Port of Pensacola, as well as Sanitation Services, Fleet Management and Code Enforcement. After lunch, members will hear about the Fire, Police and Pensacola International Airport budgets.