Memo aimed to spark discussion, Miller says

Published May 22, 2007

TAMPA - City Council Chairwoman Gwen Miller has apologized to Mayor Pam Iorio, saying a rigidly worded, line-in-the-sand memo she wrote over proposed budget cuts was just for council discussion.

Iorio had asked all city departments to trim their budgets because of looming property tax reform that could eat into city revenues. She wanted the City Council to cut $66, 055.

On Wednesday, Miller told her colleagues in a memo that the request was "not feasible, " and that the council was independent from the mayor's administration. She said the council didn't have to comply with such a request but "in the spirit of cooperation" could trim $1, 000 from individual district budgets.

Two days later, after a Times story about the memo, Miller wrote the mayor saying she was only asking council members for thoughts on her cost-cutting idea. She said her words were not meant for Iorio.

"I was only seeking Council's consensus at the time and had not prepared a memorandum to your attention, " Miller wrote Friday.

While she seemed to backpedal stylistically, she didn't budge fiscally and offer up more money. Council members cut $1, 000 from their individual budget districts, Miller's memo told the mayor.

Miller and Iorio didn't return messages seeking comment Monday.

Justin George can be reached at 813 226-3368 or jgeorge@sptimes.com.