Fifth District Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske is turning to her constituents to prepare for Fiscal 2013 budget talks, asking them for their priorities for infrastructure repairs.

A request to take a survey was emailed last week to Schipske’s address book, but asks only Fifth District residents to fill it out. The Constant Contact form offers a list of major repairs including three blocks of streets and roads throughout El Dorado Park.

Schipske said the responses will be used to prepare a priority list for the Public Works Department should money be made available for infrastructure repairs on a by-district basis, as was the case in the 2012 budget. Last year, the council voted to add $500,000 to the infrastructure budget in each district from upland oil revenue deemed a one-time windfall.

“I just wanted to talk about what would happen next year,” Schipske said. “If we don’t give advance notice to public works (about what projects should be priorities), it takes most of the year to do the preparation work to get anything done.

“We are going to use the uplands oil revenue in some way. As you know, I would prefer we use it to restore services, but that’s not how the council voted last year… This way, public works has assessed these projects already.”

Last year, Schipske joined with Eighth District Councilwoman Rae Gabelich and Ninth District Councilman Steve Neal to offer a budget plan using excess oil revenue — money coming in above the budgeted $55 per barrel price — to restore some of the service cuts made to balance the general fund. That effort was turned away by the majority of the council, with Mayor Bob Foster leading the argument that the money earned above the budgeted amount was a one-time revenue that should be used for one-time expenses.

Schipske said three projects will be done this year in the Fifth District with the $500,000 allocated. She said that at least $2.4 million in work to be done is on the current Fifth District list, and “I know that there are more.”

For information about the survey, send an email to Schipske’s office at district5@longbeach.gov.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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