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5 things to look for in Bob Buckhorn’s State of Tampa address

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is scheduled to give his State of the City this morning.

Here are some things to look for in his speech.

Transportation – In his 2014 speech, Buckhorn called for a funding referendum to support expanded bus service and light rail in Tampa, saying that the goal should be a referendum in the fall of 2016.

With Hillsborough County Commissioners scheduled to vote on whether to do that later this month, undoubtedly the mayor will encourage not only that the BOCC put the measure on the ballot, but that city voters support it in November.

Development – Mayors like to boast about the number of construction cranes are operating in their city, and you can expect this mayor to extoll the public and private development that is going on across the city.

Police/Crime – For more than a decade, both Pam Iorio and now Buckhorn have been able to boast about the reduction in crime statistics demonstrates what a great job that the Tampa Police Department has been doing. Expect more plaudits, though the murder rate did spike up in 2015 after unprecedented reductions. Harder to predict is whether the mayor will spend much time regarding the creation of a citizens’ review board, which was initiated against his original desires and roiled City Hall when he got into a dispute with the City Council regarding who controlled the power on who served on the board.

Tourism – The just completed Frozen Four NCAA hockey championship was another feather in the cap for Tampa/Hillsborough County officials, as thousands of people traveled from across the country to observe the games and festivities.

The city and county recorded records amounts of revenue in Tourist Development taxes again last year, as the city continues to attract high-level attractions. Next up is the NCAA college football championship game next January at Raymond James Stadium.

Pride in parks – The City officially opened Perry Harvey Sr. Park in northeast downtown last week. Plans are continuing with Riverfront Park on the western side of the Hillsborough River, and a new baseball field built in conjunction with the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation was just opened in Sulphur Springs last month.

No doubt you’ll probably also hear developer/Lightning owner Jeff Vinik name-checked as well, as his plans to redevelop the Channel District continue to be a major focus of the city’s evolution. The Columbia’s Richard Gonzmart may get a shout out as well, as the community welcomes the reopening of the Goody Goody restaurant in Hyde Park later this year.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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