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Published on Apr 8, 2011
What services are most important to Pinellas County residents? Is it the county parks and preserves, affordable housing, pet adoptions?
On, April 6, the interactive online event, eTownHall: Budget 2012, provided the opportunity to interact with Pinellas County Commissioners at residents' fingertips. Citizens were able to learn more about the services that are provided by the county, ask questions and share comments about the budget.
The blog for the event opened at 9 a.m. Monday, April 4. During the live event, residents were able to blog, tweet, follow the blog and view live video online or on TV. The eTownHall included the addition of the iTownHall component, which allowed residents to call in their questions and stay on the phone line to hear the entire event. Phone calls were made to citizens inviting them to participate.
County commissioners asked for the public's participation as they collect citizens' comments and begin to formulate priorities. After five years of resizing as a result of ongoing revenue reductions, the county commissioners are continuing to look at efficiencies, potential reductions and eliminations to make up a predicted shortfall of $21.5 million. Two community meetings were held in March to give residents a chance to personally interact with the commissioners.
This is the second year that Pinellas County has reached out to the public through the Internet. It is hoped that the addition of the phone component enabled more citizens to participate in the budget process. Pinellas County is the first government in the region to integrate the various forms of interactive electronic communication as part of an eTownHall event.
Moderated by Al Ruechel of Bay News 9, the eTownHall featured the county commissioners and the county administrator answering and discussing citizens' questions. The eTownHall was be held on Wednesday, April 6, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.