Mayor Takes Charge

Politicians always have trouble finessing the “legacy” question. If their answer is too candidly concrete, it seems hubristic. As in “monument to me.” It’s easier, and typically more relevant, to talk in terms of “direction” and “progress” across a spectrum of issues.

While Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio won’t be able to escape the art museum as a barometer of achievement or disappointment, she has been taking on the monumental, decidedly unsexy task of infrastructure upgrades. Some long overdue, others merely due on her watch.

The stormwater fee was the former. A start in the retrofitting of a system long overburdened and unaddressed. An example of the latter is the recently announced $1,500-per-unit impact fee to pay for rapidly accelerating water distribution needs in downtown and South Tampa.

Not surprisingly, developers have taken umbrage. Only they called it “blindsiding.” Some city council members resented a fait accompli approach.

Presumably, Iorio could have been more forthcoming, even though the code call is hers — as authorized and implemented by the Water Department director.

But maybe it just comes down to this. Absent the fees, higher water bills are inevitable. The bottom line is growth paying for itself – too frequently an oxymoronic concept around here.

Yes, the mayor could have been more inclusive in her approach. Maybe even hosted a public forum, and demurely sat through another naysayers’ field trip. The minimum result, of course, would have been delay while the usual suspects played their agenda games.

Some times the top elected official just needs to get out in front of a problem and lead.

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