This past Tuesday evening, the Virginia Beach City Council held a public discussion on the Budget. With this the start of the Budget drafting process, the City sought to get public input at the outset, rather than waiting for the Public Hearings in the Spring.
66 people preregistered, as was requested by the City. 80 showed up. Most conspicious was the Very Bellicose Terrorists Authority-er, the Virginia Beach Taxpayers Alliance (VBTA). Only one in their leadership preregistered, but I counted four of them there. Crashing the party? Virginia News Source twice attacked the meeting, in Erb's Blurbs and the heading of the link to The Virginian-Pravda story on the meeting.
As for the meeting itself, there were 6 citizens at my table. It was a crossection ranging from a Democrat to VBTA sympathizers. 3 of the 4 who spoke up support a local income tax to replace a portion of the Property Tax. Such a tax would allow the rate to be cut 16 cents. In addition, there was a loud consensus for more mass transit. Finally, the desire to cut City employee fringe benefits, which now make up 26% of total compensation costs.
The VBTA? I knew we were in trouble when I saw Reid Greenmun (cofounder of Messnerism-Greenmunism) at the same table with John Uhrin (City Council Liason to the Resort Advisory Commission). Glad I wasn't over there when Resort policy came up....