TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The City of Tampa is considering a property tax hike that Mayor Jane Castor said will bolster transportation and public safety.
The cost of keeping up with a fast-growing city has been a point of contention in the community.
Tampa City Council is crunching the numbers of Castor’s $1.9 billion budget proposal to bolster public safety, emergency response, and the cracking and crumbling roads throughout the city. However, a property tax increase is needed to fund it, which prompted dozens of residents to sound off during the city council budget workshop Monday night.
“Year over year the budget continues to increase and you now want to tax the people,” said Joe Johnson, former chairman of the City of Tampa Budget and Finance Committee.
The millage rate would increase one point to 7.2076 and would cost the average household about $20 per month, Castor said. The new millage rate would be the highest since 8.16 in 1982 and the first increase since it went to 6.5390 in 1990.
“I’m fortunate that I’m able to find room in my budget to pay for this, but not everyone in our community is,” said Darren Spencer, a South Tampa resident.
The additional dollars would add 30 police officers and improve emergency response time by adding more ambulances. It would also help rebuild 40% of Tampa streets that are riddled with potholes.
City council will have to decide if the timing will be a tipping point for families struggling to stay afloat amid the soaring cost for property insurance as the affordable housing crisis wears on.
“We’re going to be impacting people at the landlord level all the way down to the renter,” Councilman Guido Maniscalo said. “I don’t want to hurt anybody. We’re not here for that. We’re here to solve problems. I think this is very aggressive.”
The city’s second budget public hearing will take place next month.