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Tampa City Council wants voters to decide on rent control

Council wants a measure on the November ballot
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Posted at 10:22 PM, Jul 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-28 23:20:05-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa City Council voted 6-1 on Thursday in favor of adding a measure on the November ballot to control rent prices.

Voters would decide if the city could cap rent prices. Council members agreed to move forward with declaring a housing state of emergency.

Council directed the city's attorneys to draft an ordinance the council will vote on in August.

Dozens of people spoke at Thursday's council meeting saying they can no longer afford to live in the fast-growing city.

A mother who is living in a hotel with her children stood before council. A member of "Florida Rising" said the mother was too emotional to speak so she spoke on behalf of her.

"She has four children. She's living in a hotel with four children. I believe the ages of 10 to 18..." said Alice Moore with Florida Rising.

Council members pointed out that the measure will have some hurdles. State law does not allow for rent control and council members said that means the measure could face legal challenges.

Bill Carlson did not support Tampa being a "guinea pig" by testing the state law.

"Let's not spend hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars of this city's taxpayer money and other cities taxpayer money," said Bill Carlson, Tampa City Council member (District 4).

"Let's just go straight to Tallahassee and change the law," Carlson added.

Other council members supported the move to put the measure on the ballot.

"We can't allow more and more people to be on the streets, facing eviction. It could affect anybody. We could be there. Anybody's one paycheck, one disaster away and we need to do whatever it takes because that's what we were elected to do," said Guido Maniscalco.

City leaders asked the city attorneys to draft an ordinance for an August meeting. A first reading is expected to take place on August 4. A second reading is expected two weeks later.