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Tampa City Council sets 2035 goal for city’s clean energy transition

Council members also heard presentations on Mayor Jane Castor’s budget proposal for the next fiscal year.
Tampa City Hall.
Tampa City Hall. [ CHARLIE FRAGO | Times ]
Published Aug. 5
Updated Aug. 5

Tampa City Council members on Thursday called for the city’s stationary municipal operations to transition by 2035 to run on 100 percent clean, renewable energy.

The non-binding resolution also urges the state and federal government to move toward clean energy. It supports city goals like moving to a fleet of electric vehicles; transitioning to forms of public transportation that don’t produce emissions; and monitoring greenhouse gas emissions.

Council members voted 6-1 in favor of the resolution, which was introduced by Joseph Citro. Council member Charlie Miranda voted against the resolution, saying it didn’t include enough about how to meet the goal.

“Let’s not just say, ‘I want it done,’” Miranda said. “Show the world how you’re going to do it.”

Council member John Dingfelder pushed back, calling the measure “an important step.”

“It conveys a very important message to the community, and to the city itself,” he said.

Dingfelder said that the resolution does include some specifics, including its support for state and federal clean-energy initiatives and for energy efficiency in residential, commercial and government buildings.

Environmental groups have pushed city officials to commit to transitioning to renewable energy by 2030, a time frame Castor has resisted. Citro introduced a non-binding resolution last year with a goal of 2030, but he later dropped it.

On Thursday, Citro, who wore a pin with the logo of the Tampa Bay Climate Alliance, said he wished the resolution had passed unanimously.

Council member Joe Citro.
Council member Joe Citro. [ OCTAVIO JONES | Times ]

“The true authority on this will be the administration as the executive power,” he said. “However, we can take steps along the way, approving different things for the budget, making our requests known.”

Several residents gave input on the resolution at Thursday’s meeting, and nearly all spoke in favor.

“It’s a great first step in putting Tampa in a leadership position in reducing the carbon that causes climate change,” said Nancy Stevens, a volunteer with the Tampa Bay Sierra Club. She said reducing emissions will also lead to cleaner air, and greater energy efficiency will reduce energy bills for residents.

Across the bay, St. Petersburg agreed in 2017 to meet 100% clean energy goals by 2035.

Council members also heard presentations Thursday about the mayor’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2022.

Council members heard presentations Thursday about Tampa Mayor Jane Castor's proposed budget for the next fiscal year.
Council members heard presentations Thursday about Tampa Mayor Jane Castor's proposed budget for the next fiscal year. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

The proposed net budget totals $1.8 billion, and it devotes more than $316 million to wastewater, $292 million to water, $178 million to police and $138 million to transportation.

The budget includes $18.7 million in housing funding from formula grants. That will be supplemented with $16.1 million from the American Rescue Plan Act, the COVID-19 relief bill signed into law in March.

Other priorities include funding fire stations and a first-responder medical program and reducing hazards from climate change.

The budget’s theme is “Strengthening Tampa’s Foundation,” Castor said in a prerecorded video presentation.

The council will hold Sept. 13 and Sept. 28 public hearings on the budget before voting on adopting it.