City Publishes Budget Survey Results
The city conducted an online survey asking what matters to the community to help shape city budget decisions.
As the city considers cutting $2.8 million from its operating budget for next year, residents were asked what they valued. The city published the results from an online community values survey on May 1.
The city wants to work with the community to preserve as much as possible services and characteristics of Largo that matter to the community, according to a city report.
The survey was available from March 15 through April 16. There were 760 usable responses from the web-based survey. The results as the city points out are not necessarily scientific. The total population of Largo is estimated at 77,648.
The survey covered five broad categories: community identity, reliable infrastructure, vibrant economy, safe and secure community and quality community amenities.
Plus the survey asked questions about specific city services such as the golf course, residential garbage service, and the services residents have used.
Most of the respondents have lived in Largo at least three years, with 32 percent living in town for more than 20 years. The respondents were mostly ages 36-65 (65 percent) and most lived in Largo (76 percent).
Recreation and parks mattered to respondents. They felt (75 percent) small neighborhood parks (like George McGough Park) are as important as large centrally located parks (like Largo Central Park). They thought (90 percent) a variety of recreation programs were important.
Respondents were willing to see some changes to city services. The respondents agreed (58 percent) to save money by having weekly residential garbage service. They were willing (51 percent) to pay a convenience fee to send a book from another library for home checkout.
Respondents have used some city services. The library (76 percent) and the city parks (80 percent) were the most utilized services by respondents. Some services were not used as much. Respondents watched Largo TV (30 percent) and used athletic fields (20 percent).
Respondents like living in Largo. They found Largo an affordable community (88 percent), a good place to retire (75 percent) and a good place to raise a family (75 percent). They thought the city was doing a good job recruiting and keeping businesses (73 percent).
The budget process continues.
The City Manager Norton Craig will share thoughts on proposed budget cuts at the May 15 city commission meeting. The city will seek direction from the commission as it shapes the budget for next year. The actual city budget needs to be submitted to the commission by July 1.
The city's Office of Management and Budget will analyze the results from the survey and three community values workshops. They will present their findings at the May 15 commission meeting.