However, even if the city does not cut back on the police, the city must make cuts. During the same city council meeting, citizens also spoke against cuts to the North Greenwood library and complained about the service’s already inconvenient hours. The possibility of shutting down libraries, or cutting back rec-center programs leads to the question posed by Mayor Hibbard: “Does Clearwater want to be a city with just a police department and a fire department?” Having a large police department, but no libraries or city art, is unlikely to increase the quality of life in the city, no matter how safe it feels. It would be a shame to cut those programs that do increase quality of life and draw both visitors and new residents to the area.
This is a tough issue for city officials who face a budget crunch that will, unfortunately, require them to make cuts somewhere. While this is bound to disappoint someone, whatever they decide to do they are working to the best of their ability to try to implement the will of the voters, save money and continue to make Clearwater a “nice place to live, work and play.”
At that Thursday’s city council meeting, no conclusion was drawn. The city must first determine what their final budget actually is. However, one thing Councilwoman Carlen Peterson did seem decided about: no more costly efficiency studies!
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