Tampa won't lift ban on lawn sprinkling

05/21/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday | Listen to this entire show:

Despite the recent rains and increased pressure from landscapers negatively affected by water restrictions, the Tampa City Council today voted to continue the ban on lawn sprinkling in the city.

Six weeks ago, the Council voted for the measures, the toughest water restrictions in the state. Then wo weeks ago, City Councilwoman Mary Mulhern proposed a motion to revisit the issue. But before the debate even began, Mulhern pre-emptively said she would continue to support the ban.

Councilman John Dingfelder has been the only consistent vote against the measure. After hearing a presentation by city staff that said the recent storms have increased the water in the reservoir and the flows coming in to the river, he challenged his colleagues to join him in reversing the ban.

Councilwoman Gwen Miller disagreed with Dingfelder, saying emergency conditions led the Council to enact the ban.

Councilman Charlie Miranda has been the most articulate voice on the Council in support of the ban. In maintaining the ban despite increasing pressure to back off, he said the city was at a crossroads between what he said was water conservation and "politics as usual."

A motion to over the sprinkling ban failed, with Dingfelder joined by Council members Joseph Catano and Linda Saul-Sena. So did a motion by Council Chair Thomas Scott that the city maintain the current ordinance and allow Mayor Pam Iorio to change the ban when she sees fit.

That motion seemed to offend Dingfelder, who seconded Scott’s motion but then appeared to blast his colleagues for appearing to pass the buck.

The Scott amendment failed, with the majority keeping everything status quo.

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