Mayor Iorio unveils slimmed down Tampa budget

08/09/07 Mitch E. Perry
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An upbeat Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio unveiled her budget for the next fiscal year.

She mentioned several times during today's presentation to the City Council that it had been a challenging process necessitated by the rollback of ad valorem taxes dictated by property tax reform.

Like every municipality in Florida, the city of Tampa is having to make major adjustments in the way it runs its business. Cuts from the city payroll include $20 million and 240 jobs. The budget is actually increasing this year, to$761 million, but that’s because the city is using bond money to fund some projects.

The department that suffered the most cuts is the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.

Iorio warned the City Council that when public hearings on her budget commence next month, the loudest outcry will probably come from citizens who will be critical of the quality of life in the parks.

Iorio is also cutting the funding of every nonprofit that the city supports; those operating out of city-owned buildings, such as Tampa Theatre, will lose 10 percent; others will lose 20 percent.

She called the cuts "painful" but said the directors of the various groups were appreciative that the cuts weren’t more drastic.

The recently re-elected mayor seemed more enthusiastic than ever in assessing the ups and downs of running Tampa with these new challenges.

She said that downtown Tampa will begin its tranformation this year, beginning with the construction of a new art museum.

And Iorio said that the city has money from taxing the downtown district to begin redesigning Massey Park, best known as a spot where some citizens tried to feed the homeless three years ago.

Iorio said one place where she’s trying to channel more funds is the Fire Department.

And she’s recommending foregoing cost-of-living increases for herself and city council members.
When asked about those city employees who were notified last month that they had 90 days to find a new job, Iorio said she would issue a report to the City Council on the status on each employee.

The Council will hold two public hearings on the budget on Sept. 4th and Sept. 19th at 5 p.m.

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