Bro. John Muhammad, Senator Darryl Rouson and Councilwoman Gina Driscoll. Photo: Jabaar Edmond
By J.A. Jones, Staff Writer
ST. PETERSBURG – This week the New Deal for St. Pete, a community-led agenda developed by the People’s Budget Review, met Monday night at Pinellas Technical College to prepare its recommendations for the city’s FY19 Budget Open House, which will be held Monday, May 14 at 6 p.m. at the Coliseum.
Bro. John Muhammad, president of the Childs Park Neighborhood Association and community organizer with Service Employees International Union Florida, stated that while the original date for the Budget Open House had been set for June, the group learned only days earlier that it had been moved up. This unexpected change in the schedule demanded that New Deal’s planning needed to be completed earlier than originally scheduled.
“It accelerates the timeline that we have to organize, but we’re going to buckle down, go into overdrive and accomplish those deliverables because we really want to be able to present our recommendations,” Muhammad asserted.
New Deal members agreed, aware that the Open House offers an opportunity to the share their agenda and assuring the city officials present will hear the ideas for community development that came from the continuing community surveys and conversations.
Muhammad shared the city’s open house format with the approximately 50 activists, community leaders, educators and business people in the room, explaining the various departments would be in attendance to field questions during the breakout portion.
“You can go in and talk specifically with the heads of each department – Public Works, Parks and Rec. — you name it,” he explained.
The departmental breakouts would be followed by a presentation from the city where they will reveal their ideas for the budget. After that, the floor is opened to the public.
“We want to take the group that’s in here tonight and have each of you bring a friend and go in and talk about what we recommend. Because this started with us being people who reviewed the budget and wanted to be able to voice what matters to us and how we want to see our dollars spent.”