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Tampa ranks in top 10 for city finances

TAMPA — Tampa operates in the black after all its financial obligations have been met, and that places the state’s third-largest city among the top 10 nationwide in fiscal management, a non-profit study concluded this week.

Truth in Accounting, a Chicago-based nonprofit, released its 2020 Financial State of the Cities report that showed Tampa coming in 10th out of 75 of the nation’s largest cities.

The city was one of only 12 that return a “surplus” to residents after all the bills had been paid. In Tampa’s case, that translates to $1,700 per taxpayer, the study found.

Mayor Jane Castor greeted the news by crediting her predecessor, Bob Buckhorn, for setting a prudent fiscal course. That’s a philosophy she’s made her own, she said in a interview Wednesday.

“It’s good news. That should instill a great deal of confidence in our community and throughout the United States with developers, business community, anybody who is thinking of moving their business or their family to Tampa,” Castor said.

And Tampa residents should know “we are good stewards of their tax dollars. Previously and currently as well,” she said.

Tampa City Council member Bill Carlson’s take: “Tampa’s budget surplus is a result of four tax increases and spending half the general fund reserve over the past eight years. Going forward we need fiscal responsibility and to stop spending on vanity projects. Most importantly, we need to rebuild the general fund reserve to prepare for the next recession.”

The study is available below:

Related: New study shows Tampa ranks high for sound fiscal management