Iorio lays out lean budget

08/06/09 Mitch E. Perry
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Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio introduced her 2010 budget to the City Council this morning, a budget nearly 10% smaller than a year ago.

In a sobering analysis, the Mayor referred to the employee layoffs that began a couple of years ago, but said despite the cuts the city government has not lost the ability to do any of its essential services.

Declining property values and tax collections have left the city with a $51 million dollar budget deficit. Iorio detailed how she has addressed that gap.

But before her presentation became too negative, Iorio then recited a dizzying number of projects that are happening in the city, mainly in the downtown region.

The Mayor also talked about infrastructure projects that will cost money, including over a hundred million dollars in water projects, and $11 million in wastewater. But she grew most serious when discussing the issue of pay raises. There won’t be any for city workers, although in previous years when there have been raises even when revenue was dropping.

Iorio said there are three reasons costs have not gone down: pay raises, pension costs, and health care costs. She says that the $274 million dollar payroll general fund is the number that city leader must try to control, and says that city employees should be able to understand that.

Iorio ended her presentation by telling Council members that with past and possible future constitutional amendment have limited previous revenue sources for local governments in Florida, and that those mechanisms aren’t returning anytime soon.

She said that though ultimately the current national recession will end, the shift in how local governments are funded in Florida will not.

City Council members praised Mayor Iorio’s tough presentation. Commissioner Tom Scott said the Mayor’s optimism during tough times was a demonstration of leadership.

The City Council will hold public hearings on the budget on September 9th and September 23rd, both Wednesday nights, beginning at 5PM.

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