Just about everyone in Suffolk agrees on one thing: City Council does NOT listen to the people. However, City Council is listening to us! True, the budget still includes a property tax increase, and a water/sewer fee increase, however, two projects we spoke out against were deferred! There is even better evidence beyond that, proving Council & the City Manager are paying attention to US!
The biggest victory is, of course, the deferment of two projects. The “Central Library” plan, which was to replace Morgan Memorial, was slated to spend 1.5 million dollars acquiring land in the coming year, while the building itself was not slated to be built until 2019 at the earliest. That would have meant 5 years of that area of property being off the tax rolls, not to mention the businesses that would have been shut down during the acquisition. This was NOT a good idea in this economy. You complained, City Council listened. The project will likely come up again in the future, but for this coming year, it’s off the books.
The other project that was deferred was the Bennett’s Creek Rec Center. This particular rec center was to have been built a short 700 yards from the existing Creekside Rec Center. It would have cost the city 1.25 million dollars to renovate the building & surrounding land in the coming year and would have added over $400,000 a year in maintenance, upkeep, & salaries.
The deferment of these two projects will reduce the rate of spending growth by 2.7 million dollars! Everyone who called their councilman, or showed up to the March 18th budget meeting, you did that!
Another piece of evidence that the Suffolk HRTP has gotten the attention of City Council, was the numerous times that multiple councilmen & government representatives kept insisting that the budget that has been released is a line-item budget. Even better, the documents were released at the time the Work Session started, when it would normally take 24 hours or more to for the city to get them online.
The last bit of evidence that proves our voices are being heard; the city manager’s letter directly addressed the question of reducing the fleet, an item brought up by several of our members at the March 18th Budget Meeting. She of course was against such a measure, but the point is, she addressed it! Ms. Selena Cuffee-Glenn responded to us!
While there is still much work to be done in Suffolk, it is important for us to celebrate these small victories and realize that we ARE making a difference in Suffolk.
Now, back to work.