Budget input sought

Published 7:47 pm Saturday, January 2, 2010

Suffolk officials already know they’re headed for a tough year financially.

State revenues are being cut, and the city will have more operating expenses — including the King’s Fork Public Safety Center and the staff it takes to run it — next year than it did this year.

“We already know it’s going to be another tough year,” said Anne Seward, the city’s director of budget and strategic planning. “When the state feels the pain, we do as well.”

Suffolk receives more than half its money from state sources, which have been slashed by Gov. Kaine and could be cut again by Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell.

“It’s not a pretty picture for us locally,” Seward said. “We have to be very strategic in how we meet all the needs with limited dollars.”

Like last year, the city is holding two public meetings to get citizen input on the development of the operating budget for the 2010-2011 fiscal year. The meetings will give residents the opportunity to tell Seward and other officials what their priorities are.

Seward said officials need to hear what the most important priorities for the citizens are, because the budget process could involve prioritizing critical needs and non-critical needs.

Further budget challenges this year will be a full year of running the East Suffolk Recreation Center and several new building openings scheduled for 2010.

“We’re going to have to figure out which ones are most important for our citizens,” Seward said. “This is a hang-on year. We’ll see where it goes.”

The meetings are scheduled for Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. and Jan. 13 at 2 p.m. Both meetings will be held in Council Chambers at 441 Market St. For more information, call 514-4004.