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Tampa mayor urges City Council to levy a stormwater tax


Buckhorn spent more than 75 minutes in front of the Tampa City Council to in presenting his fiscal year $904.9 million 2017 budget. He spent an exhaustive 40 minutes to elaborate all that is going on with the city in terms of programs, projects and developments. The second half got down to the numbers.

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Buckhorn’s budget also calls for $250 million in spending on stormwater projects. Last November, the Council narrowly rejected a similar $251 million tax proposal that would have paid for major drainage improvements that city officials said were crucial to mitigate flooding, which happens far too often in Tampa. Critics said the tax was unfair, as people who live in certain area of Tampa that don’t get much flooding would have to pay for the areas that do.

“We need that vote,” he said in his most direct pitch of the presentation. “We need you guys to do the right thing.” Buckhorn acknowledged that it wasn’t an inexpensive proposal, but said it’s impact was constantly felt.

“It’s going to be a courageous vote. I understand the pushback,” he added, but said that city officials could only use “duct tape” and patch the existing stormwater system without new funds.

“Think about the longterm impact of this,” he implored. “I am confident that you will do the right thing.”