The council's unanimous vote (Chairman Frank Reddick was absent) keeps next year's initial round of voting the same: March 5. But the traditional three-week sprint of a runoff will be extended seven weeks until April 23.
The city's next mayor and new council will be sworn in on May 1, 2019.
Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer asked council members to make the change so his office can comply with state law mandating 45 days between the two rounds of voting to send out ballots to military and overseas voters.
The alternative, Latimer said, would be to push the election season back into the holiday season, an option which appealed to exactly no one, including likely mayoral candidate, Mike Suarez.
"I don't know too many candidates who want to qualify in December and battle through to February 5th. It makes more sense to extend the time," Suarez said.
The change can be made by ordinance rather than changing the charter through a referendum because state law overrides the city's charter, Latimer said.
Giving sitting elected officials an extra paycheck might not play well in some quarters, but has to be done, said council member Guido Maniscalco.
"I can see already the optics of that: City Council wants an extra paycheck. But if you have such a small window to mail ballots to our military, it just doesn't make any sense," he said.
City staff will bring council an ordinance for a first reading a week or two, said City Attorney Salvatore Territo.