TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — One month after rejecting a plan by Mayor Jane Castor to raise property taxes, Tampa’s City Council is considering a plan to finance bonds to pay for the construction of new fire stations in the city.
Council members say the new facilities are needed because of the rapid population growth.
“If you take a look at the population of downtown Tampa from 20, 30 years ago and compare it to today, it’s radically changed,” Council Member Luis Viera said. “Yet we still have just one fire station servicing them as well as our good friends of Harbor Island.”
Viera said the need for new stations need to be built now.
“We have a real critical need in this city for more fire stations,” Viera said.
The council is considering borrowing up to $210 million over a 30-year period to pay for the construction of five new fire stations. Council Member Charlie Miranda said he’s concerned about the cost of borrowing the money.
“When you finance something you only get half of what you want because the other half goes to interest,” Miranda said.
Councilman Bill Carlson said the City Council approved a plan last year to spend $15 million to build a new fire station, but the station was never built.
“As long as the administration does not want to build fire stations, or does not want to invest in public safety, we’re not going to get anything,” Carlson said.
Council members voted to ask the administration back in six weeks to discuss a plan to build new fire stations and finance them.