Park Finance Officer Milton Struts looked confident yesterday as he addressed members of the Park’s media community.
After releasing the PFO’s expense projections for 2015, otherwise known as The Park Budget, Struts boasted that this was the best budget his office had configured in more than a decade.
“It’s slim, trim, and to the point,” he said before taking questions from members of the media who had seen the budget on Tuesday but had been told to keep details about it under wraps.
Some of the financial reporters present seemed cynical about the figures while others were downright hostile to the “new formula.”
Yuri Sturgeon of The Kaluga Register was the first to question the 45% figure for “resident requirements.”
“How can you put everything that Park citizens require into one basket? Surely something will be left out, either by design or mistake,” he pressed.
While Struts tried to reassure him, The Salamander Evening Post’s Camlin “Cayuga” Newt broke in with criticism of the decision to lump both arts and sports events together with “Special Events.”
“You’re not fooling anybody with that figure,” he said. “Any way you look at it, we’ve lost 2% of the budget. We just don’t know where, exactly.”
The lack of transparency in the budget drew the ire of even seasoned political analysts such as Ronald Grouse. Speaking on a special edition of Yannis Tavros’s Toro Talk Radio show yesterday, The Avian Messenger’s chief political analyst called the budget “the most disorderly, disorganized, and potentially dysfunctional budget” he had ever seen.
“There is almost nothing there,” he said. “There are almost no specifics. If you add up the Miscellaneous category with Residents’ Requirements, you’ve allocated more than half the budget to … what? We may never know.”
Meanwhile, advocates for better growing conditions in The Park seemed pleased by aspects of the budget.
In a joint statement released this morning, the Weather Makers, Producers and Sellers Alliance of The Park (WMPSAP) and the Society of Concerned Park Cultivators, Planters, Growers, and Farmers (SCPCPGF) praised the doubling of funds for the purchase of weather.
“It’s taken a long time for us to get our message across, but we believe we’ve finally been heard,” the statement said.