Mayor Alvin Brown unveils budget | News
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- This morning Mayor Alvin Brown unveiled his budget proposal, which slashes hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars.
Mayor Brown addressed the city council for 20 minutes repeating his pledge not to increase property taxes, increase fees or tap into city reserves.
"The responsibility to live within our means," said Brown is what his $945 million dollar budget represents. The proposed spending plan would eliminate 500 jobs through attrition or layoffs.
According to the Mayor, he and his staff had to find ways to cut an additional $23 million because of lower property tax revenue.
Sheriff John Rutherford, however, has already voiced his opposition to the plan, saying that the city should assess the same amount of taxes as last year to protect city services.
Rutherford attended the Mayor's budget presentation and continued to pitch his plan to increase the millage rate to bring in the same amount of revenue as last year.
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"I want you to pay the exact same amount paid last year," said Rutherford.
"If we allow this revenue to go down and they (the public) pay less this year they are going to get less service. It is just that simple folks," said the sheriff.
Brown pledged that his priority for the upcoming year is pension reform. The proposed budget includes $150 million dollars to cover obligations and represents a $46 million dollar increase over last year.
Brown says he plans to offer specific ideas to the city council by the end of the year.
Councilman Stephen Joost says something needs to change on this front.
"Eighteen cents of every tax dollars goes to pension obligations. It is too much," said Joost.
Mayor Brown says Jacksonville will not go down the path of other American cities like Stockton, California, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, rocked by budget woes.
"Jacksonville will not be part of America's failures," said Brown.