TAMPA — Tampa's next election for mayor is 18 months away, but the president of the Hillsborough County Branch NAACP offered a glimpse Friday of a couple of possible facets of the campaign.
First, if Jane Castor runs for mayor as expected, she will get some criticism about the thousands of tickets Tampa police officers wrote to black bicycle riders when she was chief.
"To this day, we have never received an apology from the Tampa Police Department," the NAACP's Yvette Lewis told about 75 people at Café con Tampa, a weekly political discussion group....
TAMPA — The Tampa Bay area has a long history of local governments jockeying to control sources of water, but not water into which people have pooped.
That could change.
Tampa and Hillsborough County both want to take reclaimed water — essentially, highly treated wastewater that's nearly pure enough to drink — and put it to a new use. For Tampa, this would mean taking several extra steps to purify the water further and adding it to its drinking water supply, something already done from California to Israel....
10/11/17 Economic Development
TAMPA — Tampa Downtown Partnership president and CEO Christine Burdick is retiring after a 15-year run that saw the city's urban core take some big steps along the path from dead zone to playground.
Burdick, 68, plans to focus on special projects through her retirement on Jan. 1, with chief operating officer Lynda Remund helping manage day-to-day operations at the nonprofit partnership....
TAMPA — Port Tampa Bay posted its biggest operating revenues ever this year — $55.4 million — beating its previous record from two years ago.
The total reflects revenue solely generated by port operations, not property tax revenue or grants, officials said.
The increase for the 2017 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, was driven by growth in cruise ship business, where the number of cruises sailing out of Port Tampa Bay rose 26 percent, but also in other areas....
Tampa City Council moves ahead with new rules for 5G wireless antennas, but blasts Legislature because it can't do more10/05/17 Local Government
TAMPA — The City Council on Thursday moved ahead with proposals to minimize the visual clutter created on city streets by the next generation of wireless antennas, many as small as a pizza box, but some as big as a family-sized refrigerator.
But before it voted, the council complained that the Legislature passed a law this spring that pre-empts the city's authority regulate many aspects of where new 5G wireless antennas will go, and thus, they said, to be responsive to residents' concerns about their impact on neighborhood aesthetics....
TAMPA — A city of Tampa online survey of the public's priorities for the next 18 months rated improving streets and easing flooding as the top priority of nearly 89 percent of respondents.
Nearly tied for second were police-community relations and transportation options, including light rail. Both were rated as important by nearly 75 percent of those surveyed.
The lowest priorities: additional workforce housing (32.3 percent) and keeping the Tampa Bay Rays in the area (39.4 percent)....
With only a few hours’ sleep separating him from a 1:30 a.m. adjournment of the City Council meeting, Harry Cohen said Friday that this year’s messy end to Tampa’s budget process foreshadows both the challenges and the promise of the way city politics is changing....
It wasn’t easy, quick or pretty, but the Tampa City Council voted early Friday morning to make another reduction to Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s proposed property tax increase for 2018....
09/28/17 Local Government
TAMPA — City Hall's budget-making process got a lot more complicated and maybe more uncertain Thursday night.
Council members voted 4-3 to reject the property tax rate that they had tentatively approved last week and were working into the evening to come up with a new tax rate on which to base the city's $900-plus million budget for 2018. Voting against the proposed tax rate were Yvonne Yolie Capin, Mike Suarez, Guido Maniscalco and Harry Cohen....
TAMPA — Banker, philanthropist and patron of the arts David A. Straz Jr. said Thursday that he soon will announce the formation of an exploratory committee to help him decide whether to run for mayor of Tampa in 2019.
Straz also plans to open a bank account to help the committee in its work, but says it will be months before he announces whether he'll run.
"I'm thinking about it now," Straz told the Tampa Bay Times. "I'm exploring the possibility. I won't have a decision on that until about the first of the year."...
TAMPA — After South Florida intercepted a fleet of rental trucks needed by its storm debris pickup contractor, Tampa has hired a second contractor and agreed to pay both companies more money to clean up after Hurricane Irma.
The city also has lowered its estimate of how much storm debris there is to haul away. Last week, the job looked like it could entail removing as much as 300,000 cubic yards of debris....
09/26/17 Economic Development
Pinellas and Hillsborough counties will join forces in an effort to convince Amazon to build a new world headquarters in the Tampa Bay area.
09/26/17 Local Government
TAMPA — Less pain now, more pain later.
That's one way to look at the decision the City Council faces when it votes on Mayor Bob Buckhorn's proposed 2018 budget this week.
The council decided last week to raise property taxes, but not by as much as Buckhorn asked. In doing so, it also opted not to put as much money aside for a couple of upcoming fiscal shocks.
Buckhorn proposed raising Tampa's property tax rate from $5.73 to $6.63 in taxes for every $1,000 of assessed value. That would have added $140 next year to the tax bill of the average owner-occupied home in the city, and an average of $279 for taxpayers who live in South Tampa, where home values are highest....
TAMPA — Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, Feeding Tampa Bay and the nonprofit Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa will distribute food and gift cards Tuesday to an estimated 400 families who suffered power outages and lost food after Hurricane Irma.
The event will take place 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday at the CDC of Tampa, 1907 E Hillsborough Ave.
Winston is scheduled to present some of the 400 $25 Publix gift cards he has donated for families who need to buy items for their homes....
The Tampa Bay area has an estimated 2 million cubic yards of debris from Hurricane Irma waiting at the curb — enough to fill a line of dump trucks stretching 735 miles, or from Tampa to Tupelo, Miss.
But many trucks that could help make those tree limbs disappear are instead heading to South Florida, where hauling fees have shot up since the hurricane.
That has left several bay area communities and their private storm debris contractors scrambling....