Dear Community Partners,
Each year, staff works to present a balanced budget to Tampa City Council that will continue to provide quality services for our residents and make certain city government is fiscally sound. This year, we started the process with a $34.5 million shortfall. Property value reductions, a $6 million subsidy for the Parking Division, and expenditure increases in pension and healthcare payments all contributed to this shortfall.
A good portion of my first one hundred days in office was spent with staff evaluating each option from the three scenarios departments were asked to provide. These scenarios ranged from departments absorbing the increases with operational funds alone to a 15% decrease on top of those reductions. Undoubtedly, if we had to resort to these severe cuts, services would have been impacted.
As we analyzed each department, I was committed to ensuring strong neighborhoods, quality public safety, and robust economic development. By considering all of the options submitted, we were able to select from a menu of choices and ways to reduce the shortfall without greatly impacting services.
I am pleased to present a $765.4 million budget for Fiscal Year 2012 that is balanced and keeps our reserves strong at over $102 million. We have shrunk the budget by $34.7 million and reduced size of city government. Furthermore, I am working to streamline the regulatory and permitting process to ensure that we are known as a city that is open for business. Tampa, like other state and local governments, will continue to have financial challenges. We will keep looking for ways to reduce costs and create opportunities for economic growth.
We are all partners, working together to ensure Tampa continues to evolve into a world-class city. A city that offers the best in economic opportunities, transportation, public safety, cultural enrichment, entertainment, and education. Tampa is healthy and stable - poised for growth. This budget reflects our commitment to help grow our city, attract economic activity, and provide a quality of life in all our neighborhoods. I hope you will take the time to learn more about our City's budget.
Mayor Bob Buckhorn