Tampa City Council wants budget analyst

02/28/08 Mitch E. Perry
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As the city of Tampa tries to cope with reduced funding and more possible staff cuts, the City Council today took the first step toward hiring its own budget analyst.

City Councilman Tom Scott led off the discussion with a motion. Other Council members quickly endorsed Scott’s motion. They all praised the mayor’s budget analyst, Bonnie Wise, but Council member Linda Saul-Sena said they didn’t want to tax her resources.

But such a sentiment wasn’t unanimous. Councilman Charlie Miranda said that as he hears daily about more layoffs in the public and private sector as he sees the city’s budget cut due to property tax rollbacks, now was not the time to hire a new government employee.

Council Chair Gwen Miller agreed with Miranda that it would send the wrong message as the city cuts jobs to go out and hire a new staffer, when the city already has a budget analyst.

But Councilman John Dingfelder said a budget analyst could possibly save other jobs by giving them more data on the city’s finances.

City Councilwoman Mary Mulhern said it was necessary to hire a budget analyst so that the Council can fully do its job by being fiscally responsible.

The Council took no action today. Instead menbers said they’ll bring it back before the public next week. They also indicated uncertainty about whether it should be a part-time or full-time position.

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