Reactions to The Park’s 2015 “streamlined” budget depend on what your priorities are, says Park Finance Officer Milton Struts.
In an interview in his office two weeks after the release of the budget, Struts characterized Park residents’ general reaction as “favourable and understanding.”
“I think Park Animals understand the need to simplify our lives and, correspondingly, our budget,” Struts said.
But Wellington Whistlepig, president of the Park Association of Shops and Services (PASS) has a different take on the matter. He says that he and other business owners consider the budget “a disaster” and that he’s been busy “rallying the troops” for the past two weeks to pressure the Park Finance Office into redoing the entire budget.
“There’s going to be a massive protest against this thing,” Whistlepig says. “It’s little more than a farce. There’s almost nothing specific in the budget, so how do we know what’s going to be approved and what isn’t? How do we know how much there is to spend? We don’t. We know nothing.”
Refugee groups agree.
“There was never enough [funding] and likely never will be, but we used to see a defined amount set aside for the care of refugees. In this budget, we see nothing definite. We don’t even see ourselves; they didn’t waste any ink on us,” says Inez Gallina, president of the refugee aid group Home to Roost.
The only groups that seem pleased with the budget are those connected to weather and the environment.
“We’ve been waiting, year after year, for the PFO to take us seriously and they finally have,” says Kalliope Sun Bear, president of the Weather Makers, Producers and Sellers Alliance of The Park (WMPSAP).
“Look at the difference: last year, the gave us a mere 5% of the budget. This year it’s a whopping 20%. There is so much we can do with that and it will benefit all Park residents, from our food growers and packagers to our shops and services. Weather is the foundation of our life here in The Park.”
Indeed, according to a source who wishes to remain anonymous, the Park Weather Office (PWO) is said to be “ecstatic” about the budget and “looking forward to spending the funds on good quality weather.”
“You never know, we could end up calling this the Sunshine Budget,” the source said.