TAMPA, Fla. — As people across Hillsborough County find themselves paying more for everything from groceries and gas to homes, one commissioner proposes an idea that could offer some relief.
When Andrew Corbitt goes grocery shopping, he has to be more strategic nowadays.
“I’ve got to make a list now,” he said Tuesday, as he pulled up to the Walmart on Hillsborough Avenue, on the hunt for some ingredients to make homemade popsicles for his granddaughter.
Like so many others, he’s feeling the squeeze of higher prices almost everywhere he looks — at the grocery store, gas station, and housing market.
“It's ridiculous right now,” he said. “I’m hoping that you know, some things will lighten or, you know, we get some kind of help from the government, but I’m not going to hold my breath on it though. Let’s put it that way.”
Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan wants to do more.
“I’ve got to tell you, it’s the perfect storm, really, that’s hit — extremely hard — our citizens. It’s hit them hard financially,” he said.
Wednesday, if the Board of County Commissioners signs off on the idea, Hagan will ask county staff for “a comprehensive matrix of County imposed taxes and fees” that commissioners could potentially suspend to provide families and businesses “meaningful financial relief.”
“That could potentially be our…local option fuel taxes. It could be parking fees. It could be park fees,” he said.
“Even if it’s only for a month or two or three months,” Hagan continued.
While it is an election year and Hagan is up for re-election, he said the push for financial relief is not a campaign move or an empty gesture.
“I feel confident that, at the end of the day, that we’ll be able to approve some type of relief that we can offer our citizens,” he said.
Corbitt hopes so.
“I think that any type of assistance or aid that they can help us with, yeah, they should look into that,” he said.
If Hagan’s idea gets adequate support, staff would have until Apr. 20 to develop the matrix of financial relief options for commissioners.