Springfield Commissioners Continue Discussing Budget

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SPRINGFIELD-- Commissioner Jack Kennington wants to make sure city departments need the money they're requesting.

"We need to be as efficient as possible, when we're spending our citizen's money," said Jack Kennington, Springfield Commissioner. He's suggesting his fellow commissioners take a closer look at the police department's spending.

"Both Chief Thorne and Chief Roberts have looked at it very hard, but a new set of eyes, different set of eyes always helps," said Ralph Hammond, Springfield Mayor.

Hammond plans to ask Bay County Sheriff's Frank Mckeithen to go over the police department's budget request and make some suggestions.

Right now the city's overall budget is $9.5 million. It includes some road repair funds, money to remove abandoned homes and trailers, and some cash to replace capital equipment.

The commission is counting on a new 4-mil property tax to make ends meet. "If the Ad Valorem don't pass, then we'll be short and we'll have to cut a lot of things, including road pavement and all our extras," said Hammond.

Commissioners also discussed some problems with waste management. The garbage company and the city have had a contract since October 2011, but residents aren't happy with the service.

"We had several meetings over the last four months, that don't go nowhere," said Hammond. The city is giving Waste Management 30-days to improve service.

Commissioners are also looking at a permanent ban on homeless shelters, along the same lines as the city's adult business or sexual predator ordinances. "One is 15-hundred foot from a school, church, daycare, park, bus stop, the other one is 25-hundred foot from the same things," said Donald Penton, Springfield City Clerk.

And just in time for the start of school, Springfield Elementary side road is now one way. School officials changed with student drop off and pick up area.

Drivers can only go west from Helen to School Avenue using 5th street. "Our primary goal is the same as everybody else to implement safety and child safety," said Barry Roberts, Springfield Police Department.

Commissioners did not take any final action on any of the issues discussed today.