If you are the head of a household of four in St. Petersburg, you and your family are sending an extra $1,500 per year to the city of St. Pete than you did in 2001. The City Government of St. Petersburg spent more than it ever had in its history in 2011 at $482 million. They have collected record levels of revenue over the last five years with $458 million planned for 2013. While St. Petersburg City Hall taxes and spends at record levels, it actually has 364 fewer workers than it did in 2001 and has about 3500 fewer residents. Thus, Compared to 2001, the City is now costing every man, woman and child an additional $379 per year and the average family of four $1500 per year. That is in addition to the taxes raised by the county, the PSTA, the school board and elsewhere.
The City has 364 fewer workers than it did in 2001 but still costs citizens more money every year. As the city collects nearly $88 million more in revenue every year, it has fewer workers to support than it did 12 years ago. Those workers remaining are costing the city more than ever. In 2012, the city spent $28 million more per year in salaries and benefits than they did in 2004 with fewer workers than at that time. The city paid an additional $16 million in 2011 to retired government workers compared to 2006.
The bottom line is that the city is demanding that taxpayers pay more for less: higher taxes and higher spending despite a smaller population and a smaller government workforce.
At some point, the citizens are going to have to reign in the city government and its uncontrolled spending. Four City Council seats are up for election this year. The question the voters will need to ask is this: “which candidates are going to reverse these trends and cut taxes and spending”? Which candidates will make sure the citizens keep more of their hard earned money so they can once again enjoy the fruits of their own labor in ways they choose? The City has only two announced candidates for city council so far for one of the empty seats. Dr. McKalip has advertised on his campaign website that he will work to cut taxes. Darden Rice has made no such promise.