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Pinellas County wants citizen input on FY 2015 budget
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Pinellas County Commissioners are hosting the fifth annual Budget eTownHall meeting April 9, 7 to 8 p.m.
SEMINOLE – Pinellas County government leaders are gathering at the Seminole campus of St. Petersburg College Wednesday, April 9, to hear input and answer questions from the public about the upcoming budget.

Commissioners, department heads and the county administrator will be available for a meet and greet from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the area adjacent to the Digitorium at 9200 113th St. N. in Seminole. Follow the signs posted in the parking lot.

The main event – the 2015 eTownHall - is scheduled from 7 to 8 p.m. Citizens do not have to be present to participate, but are welcome to take part in the live event inside the Digitorium. Citizens who cannot attend can participate through the online blog, via Twitter or by calling in their questions. The event can be viewed on PCC-TV or watch the streaming video available at pinel­lasco­unty.­org.

This is the fifth year that Pinellas County has hosted an electronic budget meeting.

Commissioners and the county administrator will talk about the budget process and answer questions posed by the public. The goal is to gather citizen input to determine the most important services prior to finalizing next year’s budget.

“This is the stage in the budget process where the commissioners want our residents involved and have their priorities discussed,” said Tim Closterman, Pinellas County Communications director. “By putting the public meeting online and allowing people the opportunity to answer questions through our blog or Twitter, all of our residents have the ability to be involved in shaping the future of the community.”

There are five ways to participate:

1. Attend the live event in the Digitorium on the Seminole campus at St. Petersburg College.

2. Watch a live streaming video and blog on www.p­inell­ascou­nty.o­rg/eT­ownHa­ll. The blog opens Wednesday, April 9, at 9 a.m.

3. Tweet questions with #pinellasetown. Participate in an early discussion.

4. Call 888-409-5380 to listen and ask questions.

5. Watch on PCC-TV (Bright House Channel 622, WOW Channel 18 or Verizon Channel 44).

Pinellas County Commissioners are Charlie Justice, Susan Latvala, Janet C. Long, John Morroni, Norm Roche, Karen Williams Seel and Kenneth T. Welch. The county administrator is Bob LaSala.

For more information, visit www.p­inell­ascou­nty.o­rg/et­ownha­ll or call 464-4600.

Budget process

Pinellas County kicked off the budget season Feb. 7, shortly after the county administrator revealed the 10-year budget forecast on Jan. 21. The economic picture is not as dire as in years’ past; however, the forecast shows that some departments still have expenditures exceeding revenues.

A series of budget information sessions begin April 17 and continue through June 10. On June 1, the property appraiser will provide an estimate of taxable values, which is important since the majority of money for the general fund comes from ad valorem (property) taxes. On July 1, the property appraiser will certify the values.

The county administrator presents his proposed budget on July 15 and commissioners will discuss it at a work session on July 22. On July 31, a budget information session will provide a budget recap and discussion to finalize millage rates. Tentative millage rates will be given to the property appraiser on Aug. 4 to be included in Truth in Millage Notices set to be mailed on Aug. 22.

The tentative budget will be posted on the county’s website Sept. 9. The first budget public hearing is scheduled on Sept. 11. The second and final public hearing is on Sept. 23, at which time the budget and millage rates will receive final approval. FY 2015 begins Oct. 1.

For more information, on the budget, visit pinel­lasco­unty.­org/b­udget.
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