Sarasota News Leader

04/26/2013

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WASTING TIME City Hall has its own share of mechanical needs, including a new air conditioning system for the Information Technology Department. Photo by Norman Schimmel ANALYSIS: CITY COMMISSION TAKES HALF AN HOUR TO PONDER SPENDING $384 MILLION By Stan Zimmerman City Editor The classic image of government waste and inefficiency is 10 guys standing around a hole watching one guy dig with a shovel. On Tuesday, April 23, there were more than 10 guys — all high-ranking city staffers — sitting in upholstered seats waiting for hours until the commissioners dispensed with leftover trivialities. ers to pry into the city's $384 million capital improvement budget and plan their spending. The back-up material for the discussion included 36 pages of financial spreadsheets outlining every capital improvement project for the next decade. All the big ones are there: beach renourishment, bridge replacements, roundabouts and major street projects such as those on Myrtle and Brother Geenan Way. The little stuff was there too: replacement Tasers for cops, more street trees, dredging at the 10th Street boat ramps and other projects. The afternoon meeting was scheduled months ago as part of the Sarasota City Commission's in-depth review of the proposed budget — you know, the one that starts $5 million in the red; the one that calls for laying off cops to make One of the spreadsheet columns carried the ends meet. heading, "Funding," and more than a few of Until last week, the April 23 meeting schedule the spreadsheet cells contained the word, showed hours set aside for the commission- "Undetermined." Some of the needs listed are

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