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Tampa leaders approve $1.3 billion budget

The Tampa Police Department will receive roughly $13 million more in its budget, largely due to salaries, pensions and other issues, the city reports.
Credit: Sean Pavone, Thinkstock
Tampa skyline, stock image.

TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa City Council approved Mayor Jane Castor’s budget for the upcoming 2021 fiscal year.

Leaders held their last public hearing Wednesday on the proposed $1.3 billion budget. In her presentation, Castor said the total economic impact of COVID-19 totaled about $43 million with expenditures mostly due to safety supplies, overtime costs, individual and business assistance and more.

The city's police department, of which protesters have called for reform, saw an increase of about $13 million to its $176 million budget. The city says this "increase is due to negotiated contract salaries and benefits, higher pension contributions, lump-sum contribution to Fire & Police healthcare trust, body-worn cameras, and cyclical aviation maintenance."

In June, Castor announced several initiatives for the department in an effort to increase transparency and trust within the community following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. This included the Florida Department of Law Enforcement taking over investigations when an officer fires their weapon and creating a community task force on policing.

The city says it was able to apply a budget reduction totaling $11.5 million by freezing or eliminating positions and restructuring its debt.

"This budget will invest in critical infrastructure that fosters strong multi-modal mobility options, housing affordability, not just for some but for all, a strong commitment to customer service, and championing a city-wide commitment to workforce development so that we can build a community that will last for generations," Castor said in a statement.

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