Budget battle continues in Jacksonville

By Scott Johnson, General assignment reporter, sjohnson@wjxt.com
Elizabeth Berry, Evening assignment manager, beth@wjxt.com
Published On: Aug 06 2014 12:06:47 PM EDT
Updated On: Aug 01 2014 11:40:00 PM EDT

VIDEO: Members of City Council and the Mayor's office can't seem to agree on how to balance the budget. City Councilman Richard Clark says the Mayor's office presented the City Council with a budget that was $55 million short.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

City Council members continue to butt heads with the Mayor's Office over a budget agreement.

"You've got to balance our budget and so today we've got roughly $18 million of true red numbers, money we owe, they miscalculated. Then another $37 million that doesn't exist. Money they took from insurance money that was set aside in our emergency reserves," said Councilman Richard Clark.

Clark told News4Jax the Council may be forced to raise the tax rate for next year or make large cuts in order to balance the budget.

"My colleagues do not want to dip into our emergency reserves,. That's not how you pay your bills," said Clark.

The Mayor's Office disagrees.

"This budget is balanced," said the city's communications director David DeCamp. "We've had other people review it. It's totally balanced. We've proposed strategic use of reserves to continue investment in the city."

The Mayor's Office said they need extra money for a one-time investment in things like revitalizing downtown, parks and the city's libraries. John Winkler, with Concerned Taxpayers of Duval County, suspects that's all been put in the budget because it's an election year.

"You won't see another budget coming out of a year like this from this mayor whether he's elected or not because he won't need to have another budget like this. The problem, of course, is the City Council has to dispose of the budget. The council doesn't take any praise when they raise taxes," said Winkler.

The City Council is expected to meet Monday morning to set the tax rate. The council has the option to increase the rates now and then lower them before the final budget is passed in the fall.

Comments

The views expressed below are not those of News4Jax or its affiliated companies. By clicking on "Post," you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and your comment is in compliance with such terms. Readers, please help keep this discussion respectful and on topic by flagging comments that are offensive or inappropriate (hover over the commenter's name and you'll see the flag option appear on right side of that line). And remember, respect goes both ways: Tolerance of others' opinions is important in a free discourse. If you're easily offended by strong opinions, you might skip reading comments entirely.

blog comments powered by Disqus