TAMPA — With little discussion, the Tampa City Council voted Wednesday to keep property tax rates the same as last year and approved Mayor Pam Iorio's $836-million budget.
Council member Mary Mulhern cast the lone dissenting vote. In a budget hearing two weeks ago, Mulhern had pushed for lowering property tax rates.
Council member Charlie Miranda delivered a veiled attack on Mulhern for her vote.
"It's much easier to vote 'no' than to vote 'yes,' " he said. "In politics you can go out and say 'I voted 'no,' and it passed.' "
Miranda said the city needed to keep moving forward despite difficult financial times.
Before the vote, city finance director Bonnie Wise said Tampa is feeling the impact of the nation's economic crisis. The city has no investments in the companies whose failures have made headlines, but interest rates on city debt are rising rapidly, and it's becoming more difficult to borrow to pay for capital projects, she said. Also, city pension funds will likely sink along with the financial markets, which could mean the city will have to make significant contributions to the funds next year.