Mar 29, 2021 - News
Tampa Bay leaders talk stimulus spending at "Follow the Money" forum
stacks of money falling down like dominoes
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Tampa Tiger Bay Club hosted a virtual forum on Friday with local government officials discussing how they spent coronavirus pandemic relief dollars.

One thing that stood out: Money from the first round of relief funds didn't go as fast as Tampa thought it would. Mayor Jane Castor said the application process started out "onerous," and it was difficult to give the money away.

  • "I think people were just either shell-shocked or fatigued. ... It was difficult to get those applicants in the beginning for those relief funds," Castor said.

Other learnings:

  • Starting in June, Tampa will continue to allow some employees to work from home even as others return to the office — which Castor said was unprecedented before the pandemic.
  • This round of relief funds does something new: revenue replacement. Hillsborough County Administrator Bonnie Wise said guidelines for replacement of lost revenue have not been determined, but she said the county lost about $70 million in revenue from sales, tourist and gas taxes over six months.

This story first appeared in the Axios Tampa Bay newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

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