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Wednesday, Apr 25, 2018
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Tampa holds public hearing today on $831 million budget

TAMPA — Tampa City Council holds the first of two public hearings this evening on Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s proposed 2014 city budget.

The hearing starts at 5:01 p.m. today in council chambers on the third floor of Old City Hall.

The $831 million budget includes $354.4 million for the city’s day-to-day operations, a $7.3 million bump from the current budget.

Buckhorn has proposed adding $350,000 to the city’s code enforcement staff for next year. He also has earmarked major improvements to several city parks in 2014.

Rising property values added about $7 million in new tax revenue to city coffers for the budget that starts Oct. 1 — reversing the slide in property taxes that began after the 2008 housing market collapse.

Those new revenues weren’t enough to offset higher costs for fuel, health care and electricity. The Tampa Convention Center, which has been a source of revenue for the city in years past, may fall short in 2014 after several military-related conventions canceled because of the federal budget cuts known as “sequestration.”

Overall, Buckhorn expects to draw another $7.5 million from the city’s reserves to balance his 2014 budget.

City Council members will hear from their own citizens budget advisory committee along comments from the general public.

Councilman Harry Cohen, head of the council’s finance committee, said the mayor’s proposal makes the right choices, particularly on drainage and other infrastructure issues.

“When I look at the budget as a whole, it’s hard for me to criticize the major funding priorities,” Cohen said.

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