Thursday, January 18, 2018
News Roundup

Tampa's new city budget draws a dissent

TAMPA — The City Council on Thursday passed Mayor Bob Buckhorn's $804.4 million budget for next year.

Frank Reddick was the only council member to vote against the proposed 2012-13 budget, which goes into effect Monday.

Reddick said he had a problem with Buckhorn's vision — yet to be fleshed out — to redevelop Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park, possibly with a waterfront restaurant.

The budget includes $2.5 million in capital improvement money for the park next year, though Buckhorn has said the money is essentially a placeholder and could be rolled into future years.

But Reddick complained that while Riverfront Park is a neighborhood park, no one from the city has talked to neighborhood leaders about the changes Buckhorn is thinking about.

With Thursday's vote, the city's tax rate will remain unchanged at about $5.73 for every $1,000 of taxable assessed value.

That means a taxpayer who owns a home assessed at $157,000 and has standard property tax exemptions will pay $613 in city taxes, the same as this year.

The council also asked Buckhorn's staff for a report on last week's startling removal of 102 trees in Ybor City.

On a motion from Mary Mulhern, the council asked for a report on Oct. 4 on the city's procedures for tree removal and replacement; whether the city is exempt from its own rules; the process for notifying neighborhoods and businesses about such projects; and how olive and crape myrtle trees were selected to replace the trees that a city contractor cut down.

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