TAMPA, Fla. -- With Tampa’s budget shortfall announcement Thursday, Mayor Bob Buckhorn was quick to point out things could have been worse.
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The city was expecting a $13.5 million budget but it only ended up being $5 million.
Buckhorn presented his 2019 budget before the city council Thursday.
The latest spending plan is about $1 billion.
The city is expected to bring in around $455 million in revenue and is expected to save about $2 million on pension contributions to fire and police employees and $900,000 on employee pensions.
That's because the economy had been improving. That's the good news but the mayor did tell the council there will be some belt tightening.
"This budget reflects the resources that we have and the tough decision we have to make," Buckhorn said. "But I think it also prepares this city for the next administration and the next iteration of Tampa’s development."
The mayor added that here will be no property tax increases and no major cuts in city services. Also, there will be no layoffs.
With the growth the city has seen, Buckhorn said property tax revenues are up 10 percent this year - when only six percent growth was anticipated.
At the same time, the city's pension contributions are down thanks to gains in the stock market. But city officials also are dealing with rising health care and personnel costs.
"It's been challenging," Buckhorn said. "In spite of the fact that we’ve transformed the city over the last eight years, it has been a very, very difficult process every year to make sure we balance this budget and we do what we’re obligated to do and we continue to do it as well as we do it."
Two public hearings will be held at the end of August and September on the budget plan being unveiled Thursday.
The budget has to be approved by October 1.