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Tampa ranks in top ten in national fiscal health survey

For the second year in a row, a national accounting watchdog group gives the city high marks.
Tampa has earned a high ranking from a national watchdog group for its fiscal responsibility for the second year in a row.
Tampa has earned a high ranking from a national watchdog group for its fiscal responsibility for the second year in a row. [ Times (2019) ]
Published Jan. 28

TAMPA — After paying its bills, Tampa does well against other big cities in its budgeting and accounting, according to a report from a national watchdog group.

The largest city in the bay area ranked 10th out of the nation’s 75 largest cities in an annual report released this week by Truth in Accountability, a Chicago-based non-profit.

Tampa received a “B” grade for its relatively large surplus, calculated by the group to be $173.4 million in the black after meeting its bond debt, pension payments and other expenses. The group scored Tampa based on its 2019 audited Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the economic landscape since then, a fact noted by the report’s authors, who injected a cautionary note into the otherwise rosy findings.

“The surplus Tampa had will help the city to weather the current pandemic and downturns in the market, which can cause the value of a government’s assets to fluctuate. But the uncertainty surrounding this crisis makes it impossible to determine how much will be needed to maintain government services and benefits,” the report stated.

It’s the second year in a row that Tampa has ranked 10th among its peers in the group’s survey.

Related: Tampa ranks in Top 10 for city finances

Mayor Jane Castor released a laudatory statement:

“The city of Tampa prides itself on being responsible stewards of our taxpayer dollars — transparently crafting and operating an efficient budget that always puts our citizens first,” Castor said, adding she’s proud the city has a budget surplus “that can help us bounce back in the event of a financial crisis, much like COVID-19.”

To read the report, go to truthinaccounting.org