Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa postpones public hearing on proposed 2018 budget and tax increase to Monday

The Tampa City Council has postponed until Monday a pubic hearing on Mayor Bob Buckhorn's proposed budget and property tax increase for 2018. [City of Tampa]

The Tampa City Council has postponed until Monday a pubic hearing on Mayor Bob Buckhorn's proposed budget and property tax increase for 2018. [City of Tampa]

TAMPA — The City Council on Wednesday postponed an important public hearing on the city's budget and property tax rate for 2018 due to Hurricane Irma.

With Tampa residents still returning home, cleaning up and waiting for power to come on, city officials said it was unfair to expect residents to drop what they were doing, trek to City Hall and weigh in on the budget.

"I don't think two days after a major storm was the appropriate time," Mayor Bob Buckhorn said before the meeting.

So the council reset the hearing for 6 p.m. Monday. The council sets a tax rate at the first public hearing. After that, it can be lowered, but not raised. A final public hearing is expected at 5 p.m. Sept. 28. The city's budget year begins Oct. 1.

Buckhorn has proposed a $974.2 million budget that is based on Tampa's first increase in the property tax rate since 1989. Buckhorn's proposed rate is $6.63 in city taxes for every $1,000 of taxable property value — or $140 more next year for a homeowner who lives in a house assessed at $166,579, the city average.

Buckhorn's proposed tax rate is 15.7 percent higher than the city's current property tax rate. It is nearly 22.6 percent higher than what state law defines as the "rollback rate." That's the rate the city would have to set to account for growth in property values and to take in the same total amount of revenue next year that it collects now.

Buckhorn says the tax increase is needed to improve parks, expand fire service and prepare for looming financial challenges ahead — including paying increases for health insurance and pension obligations and repaying tens of millions of dollars borrowed in the mid-1990s, with no payments made for two decades.

Not surprisingly, the size of the tax increase gave several council members sticker shock. After some pushback, Buckhorn's staff has offered two alternatives:

• Trim the proposed tax rate increase by one-sixth, to $6.48 in tax per $1,000 of assessed value. That would mean a property tax increase of $123 next year for the average home.

• Reduce the proposed tax rate increase by one-third, to $6.33 in tax per $1,000 of assessed value. That would equal a property tax increase of $105 next year for the average home.

Contact Richard Danielson at rdanielson@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3403. Follow @Danielson_Times

If you go

What: First of two public hearings on the Tampa budget and property tax rate

When: 6 p.m. Monday

Where: City Council chambers, third floor, Old City Hall, 315 E Kennedy Blvd., Tampa

If you go

What: First of two public hearings on the Tampa budget and property tax rate

When: 6 p.m. Monday

Where: City Council chambers, third floor, Old City Hall, 315 E Kennedy Blvd., Tampa

Tampa postpones public hearing on proposed 2018 budget and tax increase to Monday 09/13/17 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 13, 2017 9:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Gators rally past Kentucky, streak hits 31

    Blogs

    LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the second week in a row, Florida found itself storming the field in a game that came down to the last second. A 57-yard field-goal attempt by Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis came just a few feet short of making history and snapping a 30-year losing streak, as the No. 20 Gators escaped a …

    Florida wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Lexington, Ky.
  2. Pen makes it way too interesting as Rays hang on for 9-6 win

    Blogs

    A couple of home runs provided the news pegs of the night for the Rays, but it was more topical to talk about what nearly happened as they hung on for a 9-6 win over the Orioles.

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season, as well as his …

  3. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.
  4. Trump fallout: Bucs' DeSean Jackson to make 'statement' Sunday

    Bucs

    Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson said Saturday that he will make a "statement" before today's game against the Vikings in response to President Donald Trump's comment that owners should "fire" players who kneel in protest during the national anthem.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson (11) makes a catch during the first half of an NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017.
  5. Kriseman invites Steph Curry to St. Pete on Twitter

    Blogs

    Mayor Rick Kriseman is no stranger to tweaking President Donald Trump on social media.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman took to Twitter Saturday evening to wade into President Donald Trump's latest social media scuffle