ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
88°
Scattered Clouds
H 94° L 71°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    88°
    Current Conditions
    Sunny. H 94° L 71°
  • clear-day Created with Sketch.
    91°
    Evening
    Sunny. H 94° L 71°
  • clear-day Created with Sketch.
    72°
    Morning
    Sunny. H 93° L 75°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

Local
$950 million of your tax dollars at stake for Jacksonville's FY13-14
Close

$950 million of your tax dollars at stake for Jacksonville's FY13-14

$950 million of your tax dollars at stake for Jacksonville's FY13-14
Photo Credit: Matt Augustine
City councilman Don Redman (left) looks on as Mayor Alvin Brown presents his FY 2012 budget to other council members and the public on Monday, July 16, 2012

$950 million of your tax dollars at stake for Jacksonville's FY13-14

It’s our first look at how the City of Jacksonville wants to spend your tax dollars next year.

The Mayor’s Office has filed its preliminary estimations of revenue, spending, and other budget pieces for FY13-14, a proposal that adds up to roughly $950 million. And at this stage in the game, the most optimistic projection means there will still be a 4% cut across the board.

Revenue

Overall, revenue is expected to climb a few million dollars overall from FY12-13. Within that rise, however, is a fall in property tax revenue. The Mayor’s proposal keeps the same tax rate as last year meaning, with declining property values, you will actually pay less overall. This was a particular point of disagreement with the Sheriff’s Office last year, who wanted to raise the millage rate- meaning you would pay the same amount overall as the prior year- and use that money to help fund his department.  City Council ultimately sided with the Mayor, deciding to give you a break.

In a memo to City Council, Budget Officer Glenn Hansen says the Mayor’s proposal will not increase taxes.  In a line-by-line breakdown of department allocation and projected revenue, however, a section titled “other taxes” increases by more than $7.5 million from the current fiscal year to the next.  We are working to speak with the city about what that drastic increase reflects.

Pension Reform

While the legislation reflecting the deal reached between the Mayor’s Office, Police and Fire Pension Fund, Fraternal Order of Police and Jacksonville Association of Fire Fighters has been filed, the timeline for actually getting it through City Council is not clear, so two versions of the budget outline were submitted to council Monday- one reflecting whether this pension reform passes and another reflecting if it does not.

According to the Mayor’s Office estimations, whether pension reform passes makes a big difference on the cuts that city departments will feel.

Deficits

The projected deficit if pension reform with the police and fire unions is not passed is $64 million. That deficit, in essence, is a figure of how much money would have to be made up somewhere in the budget in order to get the total package in balance.  If an across-the-board cut were applied to every department, constitutional office and non-executive agency equally, that deficit would mean a 13.88% cut to each.

If this pension plan is passed, the deficit would shrink to nearly $19 million. That would mean a 4.09% cut across-the-board.

There is little guidance, at this stage, on how specifically the deficit will be absorbed. That is something that will become more clear in the next six weeks when the final proposal from the Mayor is due.

Expenditures

As is the case every year, the Office of the Sheriff and the Fire & Rescue budgets are two of the top expenditures in terms of departmental budgets.  While there was a small boost proposed for Fire & Rescue, the Office of the Sheriff’s budget is actually projected to shrink by several million dollars under the proposal which reflects no pension reform.  Without pension reform, the payout for police and fire pension is around $150 million (roughly the total of all pension payout for the present fiscal year).

Again, we have requested a sit-down with the city to dig in to why the budget reflects this difference, and will continue to update as we learn more information.

Level of Service

Overall, relatively few city departments are currently allocated a budget that the Mayor’s Office deems will allow them to maintain current levels of service. That gap widens under their projections if a pension deal is not reached.  Even with the smaller gaps, however, we continue to dig in to what services you will ultimately lose to balance the budget.

Preliminary Estimations

While we are still combing through all the details, this remains a proposal that’s very early in the game. The Mayor’s Office is required to file this proposal by this date, but there are a lot of number that will be changing as we move closer to when his final proposal is due and, ultimately, when the final budget is decided.

WOKV will continue to bring you the latest in this process to see how your tax dollars will be spent, and what it will mean in terms of services for you.

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

The Latest News Headlines

  • A handicapped Iowa man has received an apology from a store at which employees forced him to “walk” out of the store on his knees after confiscating the store-provided electric cart he was using.  Shane Zahn, a Garner resident who is missing his right foot, had completed his shopping at Mills Fleet Farm in Mason City and was attempting to take the cart out to his vehicle when he was stopped and told he could not use the cart in the parking lot.  “After I got out of the store, right in front of the door I was told I was not allowed to take the wheelchair out into the parking lot, and I said 'Huh?'” Zahn told KIMT News 3 in Mason City. “I said, 'I’ve done this before.' She said, ‘The wheelchair is to not be out. It needs to come back in.’ I said, 'What am I supposed to do, crawl out of the store?’” Ultimately, that’s what Zahn did, after returning all of the items he had purchased. He also had his son record his exit, which he posted to Facebook.  “Paid for all my items and went to leave, was told I couldn't use the wheelchair to go to the car,” Zahn wrote in the Facebook post. “Returned all my items and had to walk out on my hands and knees. Just trying to make people aware of how Fleet Farm treats handicapped customers.” >> Read more trending stories The photos and video footage exploded across social media, with more than 112,000 people sharing it, more than 36,000 people reacting to it and another 11,000 commenting on Zahn’s post as of Thursday morning. While most were horrified and sympathetic, some people questioned Zahn’s story, with one commenter asking how he got into the store in the first place.  Zahn told KIMT 3 News that his son dropped him off in front of the store before parking the car. He said he usually brings in his own manual wheelchair, except in stores like Fleet Farm that have electric ones for customers’ use.  Another man questioned Zahn’s handicap. “He’s not handicapped. If he was, he wouldn’t be walking on his knees so well,” the man wrote on Zahn’s post.  Others in the Facebook thread jumped to Zahn’s defense, pointing out that the video shows the right leg of his pants trailing on the floor where his foot and part of his leg should be.  “He’s missing a foot. Your knees still work without a foot,” one woman said.  Fleet Farm acknowledged the incident in a post on the company’s own Facebook page, admitting that an employee refused to allow Zahn to use the cart to access his car.  “While use of carts in the parking lot with the uneven terrain can pose a hazard, we feel that in this instance our team member made the wrong decision,” Fleet Farm CEO Wayne Sales said in the statement. “We apologize to the customer and to everyone who may be affected.” Sales told KIMT 3 News that, although the company has policies and guidelines in place to protect customers from accidents with the electric carts in the parking lots, those guidelines do not include denying customers the use of the carts.  Sales said the company failed to live up to its values and that employees “should have gone the extra mile and helped the customer use the cart to return to his vehicle after shopping.” He said the company wants to “make things right” with Zahn, though he did not say what that would entail.  Mills Fleet Farm is a chain of 35 stores across Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and North Dakota that sell sporting goods, lawn and garden supplies, hardware, clothing and other general merchandise, according to its website. 
  • An Ohio man is in federal custody, facing charges related to attempting to provide material support to terrorist group ISIS. FBI agents on the Joint Terrorism Task Force on Wednesday arrested Laith Waleed Alebbini, 26, at Cincinnati/Kentucky International Airport. Alebbini was on his way to Syria to join ISIS fighters, the FBI said. >> Read more trending news Authorities said in a news release that Alebbini is accused of attempting to “provide material support or resources to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a designated foreign terrorist organization.”  Alebbini arrived in the United States in July 2014 on a student visa from Jordan, according to the affidavit. Alebbini was arrested on Jan. 10 for unlawful entry into the Turkish Embassy in Washington, D.C., but the charges were dismissed.  Alebbini refused to say why he was on the property, but said, “You are going to regret this” when he was escorted from the property, authorities said.  He attempted to travel to Turkey via Amsterdam on Jan. 12, but was denied because his Jordanian passport had expired. He carried only a backpack and did not check luggage, according to the affidavit. He returned to the U.S. on Jan. 15. Alebbini, a citizen of Jordan and a legal permanent resident of the U.S. as of April 2014, will appear Thursday afternoon in federal court in Dayton. >> See the latest on WHIO.com
  • The inspector general of the Department of Defense has opened an investigation into whether former national security adviser Michael Flynn reported money he received for a speaking appearance in Russia. Rep. Elijah Cummings, (D-Maryland), released three documents Thursday that confirmed the investigation, ABC News is reporting. One of the letters Cummings, the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, released was a letter from the Defense Intelligence Agency stating that they found no record that Flynn had sought permission to speak in Russia, nor had he reported income from that speech. A U.S. official, which Flynn as a retired military officer would be considered, must, by law, both seek permission and report income derived from any activity with a foreign government. Flynn once headed the DIA. CNN is reporting that Flynn also received a warning from the DIA in 2014 against receiving payments from foreign governments without congressional approvalFlynn is alleged to have taken $45,000 for speaking at an engagement in Russia in 2015. “These documents raise grave questions about why General Flynn concealed the payments he received from foreign sources after he was warned explicitly by the Pentagon,” Cummings said in a statement. “Our next step is to get the documents we are seeking from the White House so we can complete our investigation. I thank the Department of Defense for providing us with unclassified versions of these documents.” Cummings released the documents Thursday, two days after he and House Oversight chairman Jason Chaffetz held a press conference to say they believe Flynn broke the law when he failed to get permission for the speech in Russia.Flynn's lawyer, Robert Kelner, has said that Flynn did discuss his speech with officials at the DIA. Cummings said no proof of that has been found.  Flynn resigned as national security adviser in February after it was revealed that he misled Vice President Mike Pence about a meeting he had with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States. 
  • “Narcan parties” are starting to pop up and WPXI has learned that they are becoming a trend in Pennsylvania. According to investigators, addicts and dealers are taking advantage of the heroin-reversal drug by having parties where they sell heroin and Narcan as a package deal. >> Read more trending news  'You can party and use the opioids to whatever degree you want, and with the intent that you can be saved by the use of the Narcan,' Chief Jack Soberick of the Landsford, Pennsylania police said. >>Click here for a list of states where Narcan is available over the counter Police stressed that while Narcan does save lives, it is not a guarantee. WPXI looked learned that Pittsburgh paramedics used Narcan on 2,300 overdose patients in 2016. That's nearly double from the year before.
  • Connie Dabate’s Fitbit did more than record her daily activity on the last day of her life. Police allege that the fitness tracker implicated her husband in her 2015 shooting death. Richard Dabate, 40, of Ellington, Connecticut, was arrested earlier this month and charged with murder in his 39-year-old wife’s Dec. 23, 2015, slaying. He is also charged with tampering with evidence and filing a false statement, according to the Hartford Courant.  Dabate is free after posting a $1 million bond, the Courant reported.  Dabate’s arrest warrant, obtained by People magazine, said Dabate told police that a masked man broke into their home the morning of the slaying and that he walked in on him after returning home from work to retrieve his laptop and because he got a text message saying that the home’s alarm system had been activated.  Dabate claimed that he was struggling with the intruder when his wife came home from working out at the YMCA, and that he screamed for her to run. The masked man chased her into the basement and shot her to death before he could stop him, Dabate said.  Dabate said the man subdued him, tied him to a chair and tortured him by burning him with a blowtorch and stabbing him with a box cutter. He said he was able to grab the torch and burn the intruder’s face, causing him to flee the house. Dabate said he pressed a panic button on the house alarm and called for help, People reported.  Dabate’s leg and arm were attached to a chair with zip ties when police arrived.  The Courant reported that investigators were skeptical of Dabate’s story from the beginning. No one showed up at any medical clinic or hospital in the area with burns to the face, and police tracking dogs picked up only Dabate’s scent outside the house.  One dog tracked Dabate’s scent to the ambulance that took him for treatment of his own wounds, which were described as superficial.  The couple’s house showed no signs of a struggle and nothing was taken, the newspaper reported. Dabate’s wallet was found in the grass behind the home, but nothing was missing from it.  Evidence from Connie Dabate’s Fitbit, along with cellphone and computer records and house alarm logs, also contradicted Richard Dabate’s story, police said. The fitness tracker showed that she was alive and moving for nearly an hour after her husband claimed that she was dead.  The warrant obtained by Peopleand by the Courant included this timeline: 8:46 a.m.: Connie Dabate’s Fitbit showed that she left for a fitness class at the YMCA. 9:01 a.m.: Richard Dabate logged into a computer at his home. He sent his supervisor an email three minutes later saying that the house alarm had activated and he had to return home to check on it. Records showed that the email was sent from his laptop, not from his phone as he drove, as he told police.  9:18 a.m.: Richard Dabate visited the website of the YMCA where his wife worked out, looking at the group exercise schedule. He visited the ESPN website two minutes later, the last time he used his computer that morning.  At that same time, Connie Dabate used her cellphone to make a call. Surveillance cameras at the YMCA showed that she had left the building at that point.  9:23 a.m.: Connie Dabate’s Fitbit registered her moving around after remaining idle for the nine-minute drive home. At the same time, the house’s alarm system registered the garage door opening as she arrived home. According to her husband’s statements to police, the intruder was already inside. 9:40 to 9:46 a.m.: Connie Dabate’s Facebook page showed that she posted videos to her page, using her iPhone, from inside the home. She also messaged a friend through Facebook.  Her Fitbit last recorded her movements at 10:05 a.m., and the device showed that she had walked a total of 1,217 feet since arriving home. Investigators on the case found that it would have taken her no more than 125 feet to walk from her car to the basement, where she was killed, People said.  10:11 a.m.: The panic alarm for the couple’s security system was activated from Richard Dabate’s keychain fob, the Courant reported. Despite Dabate’s claim that the alarm had activated earlier that morning, the security company shows only the 10:11 a.m. alarm that day. 10:16 a.m.: Connecticut state police received a 911 call from the alarm company. Richard Dabate called 911 four minutes later.  >> Read more trending stories An in-depth report by the Courant showed that the Dabates’ marriage was marked by secrets, including the fact that Richard Dabate had a girlfriend whom he had gotten pregnant. Friends interviewed by Connecticut state police investigators said Connie Dabate never indicated that she knew of the affair or the pregnancy.  She also never talked about divorce, the friends said. Police found, however, that Richard Dabate texted his girlfriend a month before the homicide, assuring her that the couple had discussed divorce and were “on the same page.”  He told the woman that they were “getting a slow-moving divorce to make it easier on the kids.” A day after that text to her husband’s girlfriend, Connie Dabate sent her husband a photo of herself wearing lingerie, telling him, “I’m ready for u big boy,” the Courant reported.  While Connie Dabate’s friends knew nothing about a divorce, a friend of Richard Dabate’s told police that Richard had confided in him about the affair and pregnancy. Dabate told the man that he was afraid Connie would divorce him.  When police confronted Richard Dabate about the pregnancy, Dabate told them that he and Connie wanted to have another child, but that she couldn’t get pregnant, the Courant said. He said his wife was all right with his girlfriend’s pregnancy and planned to “co-parent” the child.  Detectives found evidence that the Dabate marriage was troubled even before the affair and pregnancy. A note on Connie Dabate’s cellphone from December 2014 -- a year before she was killed -- listed reasons why she wanted to divorce her husband.  Those reasons included him “(acting) like a kid constantly,” being uncaring toward her, being an unfit parent and taking money “from a lot of accounts that don’t belong to him,” the Courant reported.  The investigation into Connie Dabate’s death showed that Richard Dabate attempted to cash in his wife’s $475,000 life insurance policy five days after she died, but the insurance company denied his claim. Dabate stopped making payments on his own life insurance policy two years before the shooting.  A month after Connie Dabate’s death, Richard Dabate withdrew more than $90,000 from a Fidelity investment account that belonged to his wife. 

The Latest News Videos