Potential to cut Property Taxes in Tampa dead by Mitch E. Perry

06/15/06

The Tampa City Council today voted to drop a discussion on possibly reducing property taxes in the city for the first time in 17 years.

Broken down, the proposal would mean a reduction on a $200,000 Tampa homeowner’s property to about $23 annually.

For Councilwoman Mary Alvarez, that amount was far too small to engage in a serious discussion about providing tax relief (roll tape#1 o.q.�at this point�)

The proposal was initially brought forth 2 weeks ago by Councilman Sean Harrison, who currently serves New Tampa, but will be running City wide next year. It was seconded by Rosa Ferlita, running for a Hillsborough County Commission seat this year. That led to this comment by Alvarez (roll tape#2 o.q.�as far as I’m concerned�)

Naturally, Harrison disagreed (roll tape#3 o.q.� on our city�)

The Iorio Administration is NOT in support of a reduction in ad valorem taxes. They say that because of insurance and fuel costs, for example, the budget is already extremely tight for fiscal year 2007. But Harrison contended that many of Tampa’s citizens are also dealing with similar financial stress, and he said the Council is paid to make tough decisions (roll tape#4 o.q.�about this idea�)

City Councilwoman Linda Saul-Sena joined Alvarez in showing disdain for the very idea of giving citizens a tax cut at this time..She mentioned the fact that the City currently only has $30 million dollars earmarked for storm damage insurance. And she read aloud from an e-mail written by 1 constituent with a similar point of view (roll tape# 5 o.q.� political bandwagon�)

Councilman John Dingfelder seemed to be weighing both sides of the issue…His vote 2 weeks ago in support of Harrison’s proposal kept the issue alive on Thursday. He again reflected on the pros and cons (roll tape#6 o.q.�insurance at all�)

The Council voted 4-3 to kill the proposal....Harrison, Ferlita and John Dingfelder were in the minority.

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