Tampa braces for budget cuts

05/31/07 Mitch E. Perry
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Property Tax Reductions

As local city and county governments brace for budget cuts, the Tampa City Council today was given a quick primer on what the damage could be to Tampa.

The state legislature meets for a special session next month in Tallahassee on how to reduce property taxes for Florida property owners. Depending on the size of those reductions could have a dramatic effect on an assortment of local services.

City Finance Director Bonnie Wise said currently, the city takes in $164 million dollars in property taxes. She compared an original plan proposed by House Speaker Marco Rubio with a subsequent plan from the State Senate (roll tape#1 o.q.”16 million dollars”)

But as Wise later admitted, there have been multiple plans offered since then, with none so far being considered a sure proposal. She mentioned referred to ideas that have been getting attention of late – a super homestead exemption, which could be a percentage of a median price of a home for each county….She said the City calculated a proposal brought forward to Speaker Rubio (roll tape#2 oq..”multiple year impacts”)

Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio last month instructed her department heads to prepare budgets at last year’s levels. Overall, City departments were instructed to cut over $15 million dollars, including 7 and a half from the Police Department.

City Councilwoman Linda Saul Sena said as unveiled by Finance Director Wise, the damage to city services would be massive (roll tape#3 o.q. “completely devastating”)

And Saul-Sena referred to a Town Hall Meeting that will take place next Tuesday night, with the Hillsborough County Legislative Delegation. At that meeting, the delegation will hear from local governments and the public on the issue of property tax reduction.

That will take place at the University Area Community Center Complex, at 14013 North 22nd Street. That will take place between 6 and 9PM

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