This morning's local papers provides many interesting stories to discuss. In Tampa, the Mayor and City Council have cut tens of millions of dollars in the budget in recent years, but increased park fees have aroused the ire of the populace, and yesterday the city council voted 4-1 to support John Dingfelder's motion to have voters decide next year to pay for a $1 monthly tax to property owners to reduce those new fees.
It's interesting. Tampa (like all local governments in recent years) has had to cut so much, yet really, there hasn't been too much blowback to public officials. But public protest can matter. And the fact that those folks who have been squawked about this in recent weeks obviously are reacting.
Also in the news this morning. Louis Miller bids adieu. Yesterday the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority accepted Miller's resignation, but not before a new controversy arose. This time, over violations of the state's open government laws.
As the Tribune reports:
Before the aviation authority's board accepted Miller's resignation, Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio and Tampa developer Al Austin, both Hillsborough County Aviation Authority board members, questioned counsel Gigi Rechel's failure to inform them that certain contract reviews might not have been subject to proper public notice.
"I've been on the board for more than 10 years," Austin told Rechel, "and I had not heard of this problem. If we had, it could have been prevented."
Aviation Authority records indicate Rechel had alerted Miller to the issues on several occasions since 2002.
Meanwhile, attorney David Smith with GrayRobinson continues his investigation on whether airport officials might have violated laws regarding the way that zoning variances and building demolitions decisions were made in the Miller era. Smith, who formerly worked for Mayor Iorio as the city of Tampa's attorney, told CL earlier this week that his research into that had been delayed somewhat because he's also helping the authority reformulate their zoning requirements. He said a problem he's had was has been working with the interlocal agreements with Tampa, Plant City and the County. But he said he hopes to have a report wrapped up and made available by the next airport board meeting, which will be on April 1.