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City Council wants to curb administration spending

May 27, 2021 - The St. Petersburg City Council will consider lowering the threshold that the administration can spend without Council approval. The Council's budget committee approved a proposal Thursday from Council Chair Ed Montanari to lower the threshold from $100,000 to $75,000. The measure now advances to the full City Council, which will be asked to approve a change to the city's procurement code. Montanari proposed the lower spending threshold after Mayor Rick Kriseman signed a $99,000 contract with a consultant for Tropicana Field site redevelopment. The contract initially was for $180,000 but the Council delayed approval and the scope of services required dropped during that time, administration officials said. Originally, Montanari wanted to lower the spending limit to $50,000 but he changed that to $75,000 to reduce the work the city's staff would have to do in preparation for council approval. Council member Gina Driscoll said the lower threshold would create additional cost, but said it was the price paid for "broken trust" and a move to circumvent the Council. Council member Darden Rice suggested the lower spending limit be reviewed after six months, and the rest of the budget committee agreed to that. Kriseman will leave office in early 2022 because of term limits. Both Rice and Council member Robert Blackmon, who also sits on the budget committee, are mayoral candidates.

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