Friday, February 16, 2018

Council Member Myers Budget Request Calls Out the Mayor

Council Member Myers has submitted her budget requests to the Mayor and Dr. No Olson.  She doesn't hold back telling the Mayor exactly what she thinks of him.

Remember District 2 is up for re-election this year so Council Member Myers will be up for re-election.  Last time she ran the Mayor propped up a candidate to run against her.  She won anyway.

The Mayor is not as popular outside East Hill as he thinks,  I am sure Council Member Myers will be reminding her constituents as she walks the District JUST HOW LITTLE THE CITY DOES FOR DISTRICT 2.

I can't imagine any circumstance a District 2 voter would vote for Hayward when presented with the facts below.


-----Original Message-----
From: Sherri Myers <smyers@cityofpensacola.com>
To: Ashton Hayward <mayorhayward@cityofpensacola.com>; Eric Olson <EOlson@cityofpensacola.com>; Don Kraher <DKraher@cityofpensacola.com>; Butch Hansen <bhansen@cityofpensacola.com>; Dick Barker Jr <RBarker@cityofpensacola.com>
Sent: Thu, Feb 15, 2018 9:38 pm
Subject: Response to Mayor Hayward's budget letter

This is in response to your letter to me dated January 12, 2018.  First, I am requesting you send the letter to me via e-mail attachment as I only have a hard copy.

For eight years, you have sent your  standard letter to all city council members requesting our input regarding budget priorities for our districts.  In the past, I have responded to your standard letter. I have never received a written or verbal response to any letters I have sent to you. You, nor your staff have never contacted me to discuss any of my priorities. So, last year in the beginning of 2017, I decided to just meet with Dick Barker regarding my priorities and asked where the money might come from for Burgess Road.  He told me that there was $1,600,000.00 of unallocated money in LOST VI.  I made it very clear to Mr. Barker and Eric Olson that I was going to ask council to allocate this money to Burgess Rd.  However, when your proposed budget came out for fiscal year 2018, you had taken the $1,600,000.00 and used it for Bayview Community Center and increased that project by over $2,000,000.00 dollars.  I had to fight like hell to get council to allocate $1,600,000.00 for Burgess Rd., from the LOST VI, from another line item you had to slap down asphalt for resurfacing. Even though the Council allocated the $1,600,000.00 for Burgess Rd., based on comments from Mr. Olson, I am absolutely confident that you and your staff will make sure that project never happens.  Rest assured however, that as long as my two feet are able to walk on this earth, Burgess Road and the safety of poor people and school kids will be a top priority for me.

Moving on to other priorities; Carpenter's Creek.  I haven't heard one word of support from you in support of the RESTORE project for Carpenter's Creek.  If there is a "word" please send it to me.  I did not copy you on the letter that I sent to FDOT regarding the replacement of 9th Ave., bridge.  The design of  the new bridge is critical to  efforts to Restore the creek.  Furthermore, the bridge needs to be very walkable, with lighting that is aesthetic and that provides an aesthetic entrance to the Uptown District.  The letter that was sent to FDOT is attached.  It was not sent to you, because I do not trust you or your administration to care about the wellbeing of the Uptown District.  I believe the distrust is well founded based on my dealings with your administration.  The 9th Ave., project is an FDOT project.  The citizens have spoke at my town hall meetings regarding this project.  We have spoken at FDOT meetings. We will fight for the amenities we have requested of FDOT,  with or without your support, though it would be welcomed. Please provided me with a copy of your letter of support,  ootherwise, I will take the position that you do not support the will of the citizens of Pensacola regarding the replacement of the 9th Ave. bridge.

Other priorities include:
  1.  Street lighting at all signalized intersections from Fairfield to Olive Rd.  Yes, I know they are state roads, but these needs where not addressed in the so call "street light" study.  However, the city provides street lights in residential neighborhoods, why not for commercial property owners.  Why is the street lighting along Brent and Bayou from Davis Hwy to 12th Ave., so spotty.  Why is a the busiest pedestrian area  in the city and the county around Scared Heart and Cordova Mall dark?  Have you been on the phone with FDOT regarding this issue?  What has the city offered in terms of addressing the  safety  of pedestrians who walk along Bayou and 9th Ave?  Also, the lack of street lighting at Tippin and Creighton.  It could have been improved by the city.  I don't think it was even addressed in the so called "street light" study.  Thank God for FDOT.  FDOT has plans to put street lighting at that signalized intersection of Tippen and Creighton as part of the FDOT improvements to Creighton Rd.
  2. Drainage and storm water:  While the city is doing a good job retrofitting storm water flow into Carpenter's Creek there is much more that needs to be done, such as addressing storm water pond maintenance and road reconstruction.  Simple things like stop cutting the grass so short that it causes the grass to die which causes erosion of our storm water ponds.
  3. Parks and Recreation: Fair share of the Parks and Recreation budget: Very little money comes out of Parks and Recreation for District 2, or for the north end of the city for that matter. Out of 90 plus parks in the City of Pensacola, only 8 are in district 2.  The neighborhood of Camelot waited for over 30 years to get  playground equipment and that came about when FDOT bought park of the passive park for a storm water pond. When arsonist burned it to the ground not long after it was built, Mr. Olson told me that the city was not going to replace it because it would cost $65,000.00.  I told Mr. Olson that not replacing it was not an option.  The playground equipment was replaced, but it is not universally designed for children with disabilities.  Not only does district 2 have just 8 parks, but there are no community centers or athletic centers.  Gull Point is the closes community center and it is run down and in need of rehabilitation.  It is the only senior eating facility in the north end. While it is not in District 2, Gull Point has programs that service the north end of the city. The large subdivision, Eau Clair, north of 9th Ave., does have any parks, nothing.  So really, how much is that community getting from the taxes property owners and residents pay the city.  
  4. Uptown District - no green spaces, no promotion.  But, you will be glad to take all of the property taxes Uptown generates to subsidize the rest of the city.  Not only is Uptown the primary commercial core, put thousands of students and visitors come to our state college and medical facilities every day. We have Sacred Heart Health System that is an important regional hospital.  SH has over a thousand employees.  Where is the green space for them.  You are working on providing storm water parks with walkable green spaces for Baptist Health System.  Where are the green spaces for all of the employees that work at Sacred Heart and all of the other businesses in the Uptown commercial core?  What happened to the 4 acre pond the city owns adjacent to Carpenter's Creek?  When is it going to be converted into a green space like the many ponds you are working so hard to get all over downtown and the west side areas.   Heck, you won't even get street lights put in at 9th and Bayou so pedestrians and employees of our many businesses can safely walk across the streets.  Why isn't the Anna Lamar Switzer art gallery mentioned on the City's website as a destination for visitors to come and see the best art in the city of Pensacola?  How could that be overlooked. Politics? Grudge?
  5. Police:  Never see police  when school kids are walking down Burgess Rd.  That stopped 3 years ago.  Still a lot of speeders in the Cordova Mall area.  
  6. Lastly,  I want to address the lack of transparency in the budget process that has come from your administration.  You have done everything possible to make sure the council did not have the resource we need to have independent staff, unattached to you,  to help us understand the budget process and develop a budget that is in the interest of the entire city. You fired our first council  executive without informing the council. Council took care of the Cox firing  with a referendum that changed the charter. Your buddy on the city council tried to discredit our new independent council executive when he has hired.  You vetoed our efforts to hire our independent budget analyst.  We fixed that with a veto override.  Until 2017, I didn't know there was a Budget Preparation Manual.  It had never been provided to council, nor was it published anywhere on the City's website.  However,  each year Escambia County publishes its Budget Preparation Manual.  I didn't know the city had a Budge Preparation Manual until a citizen told me.  I made a request for the 2017 manual and learned a lot about the budget process.  I learned that the letter that is sent to council every January is just a formality. Don't know who collects the response and files them away in file #13. In order to help the citizens understand the budget process of the city,I had the Budget Preparation Manual posted to my City Council page so the public will have access to it.  

Well, my hands are getting tired of typing.  I have other priority issues to add to my list.  I will send them along as I have time.    

Sherri Myers, District 2, City Council

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