Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio observed the anniversary of her 1st year in office , by giving a State of the City Address to the Tampa City Council this morning.

Echoing what Presidents and Governors generally say at their annual speeches, the Mayor affirned that Tampa is doing well (roll tape#3 o.q."is good")

Most of the Mayor's presentation came via a 15 minute video, featuring comments by City Councilmembers, neighborhood leaders, and citizens speaking about the positive quality of life in Tampa....The video also emphasized some of the Mayor's Priorities (roll tape of video on East Tampa o.q."area")

The Mayor spent little time speaking to the Council....She said she wants to make Tampa's Downtown - long a ghost town after 5PM - more active and vital.....There have been recent announcement of new housing developments beginning ....The Mayor said she hoped the Council will work with her in approving those developments -specifically regarding Land Use Developments (roll tape#2 o.q. "make that happen")

Also, City Councilmember Rose Ferlita took advantage of Iorio's appearance to address the recent developments involving the City's desire to increase the pension benefits of Tampa Firefighters and Policemen.

The Mayor and the unions representing Tampa Police and Firemen have worked out a deal that will increase pension pay to 62 percent of an officers salary after 20 years of office for those retiring after last October, up from 50 percent.

Current retirees would remain at the lower rate, which has led to some bitterness among the former officers...... Retirees have lobbied members of the Hillsborough County legislative delegation in Tallahassee about problems with the Pension... Councilmember Ferlita says she is satisfied that recent financial analysis shows that it is appropriate to support the benefit increase (roll tape#4 o.q."go forward with")

Mayor Iorio was challenged by Tampa State Senator Victor Crist last week...He told her he wanted to see more data to see how the plan will affect the financial health of the pension and city.(roll tape#5 o.q."of the City")

Iorio said it was incumbent for the city of Tampa to raise benefits for Police and firefighters to remain competitive with other cities (roll tape#6 o.q."and the county")

Tampa Finance Director Bonnie Wise says its inaccurate to say that the City had not done analysis (roll tape#7 o.q."I think it is")

OUTRO: A separate issue regarding the loss of nearly $210 million dollars earmarked for the cost-of-living allowances in the Pension plan for the fiscals years of 2001 and 2002 continues...

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