Tampa Council considers funding continued community liason position at USF listen08/27/09 Mitch E. Perry
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The Tampa City Council today voted to have their Community Redevelopment Agency Advisory Board review with an attorney the possibility of funding a position being phased out at USF.
The issue arose after City Councilwoman Linda Saul-Sena said she recently had a meeting with school officials to discuss the USF collaborative on East Tampa. That collaborative has involved having a university researcher work on mobilizing students and faculty on community projects in East Tampa.
The University is letting go of that liason, Judi Jetson, at the end of this year. Councilmember Saul-Sena was hoping to contribute $25,000 to match the university to pay for the position.
Saul-Sena said the city has benefited for five years without spending any money from the work that USF has been doing in East Tampa, named by Mayor Iorio as a priority in seeing improvements when she was elected in 2003.
City Councilwoman Mary Mulhern said she has been speaking with several different departments at USF that have been collaborating with the city on East Tampa on issues like urban planning, geology, environmental science and art.
City Councilman John Dingfelder said the city has recently learned that there is over $844,000 in â€˜foundâ€™ interest funds. He said that meant that it should easily be able to contribute the $25,000 in question. But he was concerned about the legality of funding the position.
Council Chairman Thomas Scott said the funding had to be meet statute guidelines. He also said that there professor Susan Greenbaum would be replacing Jetson, so the city would not lose the work. And he questioned whether it be the best way to spend $25,000. Councilman Charlie Miranda agreed with Scott.
But Saul-Sena said what Professor Greenbaum is working on is definitely different than what the community liason position does.
Councilwoman Mulhern insisted that the funding for the USF position would not hurt other projects.
The Board then voted to refer the issue to the Advisory Board of the CRA of East Tampa.