YOUR TAX DOLLARS
With Mayor Alvin Brown working to fill to city's $32 million budget gap, incoming City Council President Bill Bishop says it's onto problem number two.
He says the city is spending too much money on pensions.
It's number two on his list of budget problems that "must be dealt with."
Bishop says the city spends about 120-million on pensions a year, about 11 or 12 percent of the total budget.
"It's not getting less, it's getting worse," he said.
He says it's the "biggest single driver of increased costs in the city budget."
Mayor Alvin Brown says he hopes to change the system before the end of the year, and Bishop says he's in favor.
His only concern is that "changes to the pension system are highly complicated."
He says if the Mayor can get the whole system changed by December, then it will be in time for next year's budget.
"We have to get it done, but this upcoming year's budget is going to be dealing with the existing system," Bishop said.
Bill Bishop says he's also in favor of the Mayor creating a seperate office for downtown development
Recently the City Council approved his transformation of the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission into the Office of Economic Development.
It includes the creation of the Downtown Investment Authority.
Bishop says he's in favor of having an office with the sole purpose of focusing on downtown.
It's better than the old model, to him.
"The focus on downtown really wasn't there."
He says if Jacksonville wants to be a world-class city, it takes a world-class downtown.
"Every great city has a great downtown. It sounds cliche but it's true. There's no such thing as a world-class suburb.
"It just doesn't exist."