Second budget hearing on 2024 funding to be held by Tampa City Council today

A second budget hearing will take place today in Tampa, with council members attempting to save $45 million and voting on financing through 2024.

Following Mayor Jane Castor’s proposal for a double-digit property tax hike to rehabilitate Tampa’s roads, the last several meetings have been received with some public outcry.

The cuts could take a variety of shapes, and we don’t yet know what the municipal council will decide. Merit raises for some staff could be one possible cut. Another area where the city may make cuts is in organizations that receive city funds to run their enterprises.

Members of the Ybor City Museum Society, for example, attended a meeting last week to ask the city council not to fully eliminate them.

“For the operational needs of the Ybor City Museum Society to continue doing what it’s doing, the City of Tampa funding is critical,” a representative said.

The Tampa Fire Union has also urged city council members to examine the construction of three new fire stations in New Tampa, Westshore, and Channelside. It was stated that response times are suffering.

Just recently, we had one of our members, there was a pediatric drowning in the pool. They called for a helicopter, and the fire truck got there at the same time as the helicopter. That’s pretty bad,” said the local fire union president, Nick Stocco.

Some city council members supported Mayor Castor’s property tax increase, while others adamantly shut it down.

“Something is seriously wrong with our body of government when it’s we, the people of Tampa, standing right in front of our government begging and pleading you to not take more of our own earned money,” one woman said during public comment on Sept. 13. “And if you don’t understand what I’m saying then you’re not fit to represent me or anyone in the city of Tampa.”

It was voted down two weeks ago in a 4-3 vote.

“Statistics say that we have an average of 150 people a day move into the City of Tampa. Everything that everyone said up there today is a necessity, but with that necessity comes responsibility and opportunity,” said Tampa City Councilman Bill Carlson, who represents District 4.

Today is the first day city council members could decide on cuts and actually vote on passing a balanced budget.

“When we leave here on the 19th, we’re no longer talking about prioritizing our needs and why we have deferred maintenance for decades,” said Tampa city councilman Alan Clenedenin, who represents District 1.

People who attended the first budget hearing expressed hope that the cuts would be equitable. The second budget meeting today begins at 5 p.m., and public comment will be taken.

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