TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Tampa City Council has a tightrope to walk. After rejecting Mayor Jane Castor’s tax hike and budget proposal last week, it is up to council members Wednesday to work on hammering out a new budget proposal for the next year during a special call meeting. They said their rejection was based on the cost of living for Tampa residents.

“When we’ve passed increases in the past, special assessments or millage increases, we didn’t have the housing affordability crisis in Tampa,” said Guido Maniscalco, council chairperson. “But now it’s just built out so much, and I think this is really the wrong time to do it, and we shot it down.”

Council members said they believe they can balance spending cuts without harming the quality of city services.

“We saw this several mayors ago, through the Great Recession,” said Maniscalco. “There were significant cuts, but the quality of service wasn’t affected. We’re not seeing that, we’re not looking massive layoffs. It has nothing to do with that. It’s what is going to be allocated, what is going to be prioritized.”

Castor said last week she was disappointed with the council’s decision.

“Very disheartening,” Castor said. “Our administration has spent months and months creating a very, very responsible budget for our city.”

Castor said her proposal was necessary to improve roads, shorten emergency response times and fix staffing shortages.

“To continue to defer and delay, decade after decade,” Castor said. “Is where we’re at with the billions of dollars of need.”

Wednesday’s meeting is at 3 p.m. at Old City Hall. Public comment is allowed. According to the workshop notice, proposals for official action will happen at next Tuesday’s budget hearing.