ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
57°
Partly Cloudy
H 64° L 50°
  • cloudy-day
    57°
    Current Conditions
    Partly Cloudy. H 64° L 50°
  • cloudy-day
    60°
    Evening
    Partly Cloudy. H 64° L 50°
  • cloudy-day
    51°
    Morning
    Partly Cloudy. H 73° L 55°
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
Jax budget and you: Cuts could impact personnel, services
Close

Jax budget and you: Cuts could impact personnel, services

Jax budget and you: Cuts could impact personnel, services
Photo Credit: Stephanie Brown

Jax budget and you: Cuts could impact personnel, services

Even the best case scenario right now for Jacksonville’s preliminary budget legislation shows cuts will be necessary, and we’re digging deeper to learn what that could mean for services to you.

Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown continues to work on sticking to a promise of no new taxes for you, and the proposal so far seems to deliver that.  The property tax rate will hold steady under this proposal which, given declining property values means you may actually pay less in property tax next year.

“We are keeping it solid, not touching reserves,” says Mayor’s Office Communications Director David DeCamp.

But the city is expecting revenue from other taxes to rise. For example, the Mayor’s Office tells me they’re projecting more revenue to come in from the state sales tax money as people start spending more money.  When that increase is added to other revenue boosts or state shared revenue projections, it accounts for the $7.5 million increase in “other taxes” listed under city revenue.

Chief Financial Officer Ronnie Belton tells WOKV they will stick by the frozen property tax rate, even if the Sheriff disagrees like last year. Sheriff John Rutherford asked the City Council to raise the property tax rate which, given declining property values, would have had you pay out the same amount of money as the year before. The City Council ultimately sided with the Mayor, however, in allowing the rate to go unchanged and your payout to fall.

But will that lower payout come at a price to what you’ve come to expect?

“Without retirement reform, there are significant service reductions that would have to be considered,” DeCamp says.

The current proposal is in two forms- one with police and fire retirement reform passed and one without.  If the current plan for reform is passed this budget year, the Mayor’s Office projects that will leave a nearly $19 million deficit to make up. If across-the-board cuts were applied, that would mean about 4% cut from each department.

Without reform, that deficit grows to $64 million, requiring a nearly 14% cut if evenly distributed.

“Poses a potential for significant reductions in services and potentially personnel,” DeCamp says.

It’s not likely that six weeks down the road when the Mayor makes his formal budget presentation that the cuts will in fact be across-the-board.  DeCamp says they look at the cuts strategically and craft different priorities when drafting the final proposal.

We got a look at the priorities of the Mayor’s Office and City Council last year. Services like mowing were reduced until the community clamored in protest.  When unused funds were found during post-budget review, that was quickly pushed toward not just restoring but improving mowing services.

DeCamp wouldn’t single out any of the priorities at this stage, because there is still a lot of change that can happen before that final proposal.  He hopes that through using savings, finding efficiencies, and hopefully seeing pension reform to balance the budget, those cuts will ultimately be minimal.

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

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

The Latest News Headlines

  • At least 184 people were killed and 125 were injured Friday when Islamist militants exploded a bomb and opened fire on people attending prayers at an Egyptian mosque in the northern section of Sinai, Reuters reported. >> Read more trending news The attack targeted Al Rawdah mosque in Bir Al-Abed, the Egyptian state-owned news agency MENA reported. No group has claimed responsibility for the assault, so far. State media showed images of bloodied victims and bodies covered in blankets inside the Al Rawdah mosque in Bir al-Abed, west of the city of El Arish. “They were shooting at people as they left the mosque,” a local resident, whose relatives were at the scene, told Reuters. “They were shooting at the ambulances, too.”
  • We're still damp this morning, with some mist and fog early.  Gradually the rain is expected to end and CBS 47/Fox 30 Action News Jax Chief Meteorologist Mike Buresh says skies will clear.   Thursday saw a tremendous amount of rain.  “Unofficial reports of as much as 6’’ in the St. Augustine area, pretty widespread rainfall of 2-5’’ for parts of Clay and St. Johns County and even into southeastern Duval County”, Buresh said.  Mike says we'll gradually see skies clear through the day and by tonight.   That sets up a really nice, dry weekend with temps in the low 70's. LISTEN:  Mike Buresh Weather Podcast
  • UPDATE Friday morning:  Logan Mott’s mother has posted a heartfelt message on Facebook, pleading for a safe return of her 15-year-old son and his grandmother, Kristina French.  UPDATE 11/23/17 5:40 PM: The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office says there’s no new information to release. ORIGINAL STORY: A missing child alert has been issued for 15-year-old Logan Mott out of Neptune Beach.  The Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Jacksonville Police believe Logan is in the company of his grandmother, 53-year-old Kristina French.  The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office says firearms are missing from a home they are associated with. Our partners at Action News Jax spoke with Logan’s mother who says the home that had the firearms looked like it had been ransacked.  The two are believed to traveling in a 2015 silver Dodge Dart with Florida tag D-L-L-T-4-2.  JSO says with the firearms missing, you should not approach them if you see them. You are asked to call 911. This is a developing story, check back for more updates. 
  • If you need a Christmas tree you might want to head over to Hendricks Avenue Elementary School. Kick off your holiday shopping by paying a visit to their Christmas lot which officially opened today.  The School’s Ambassador Program which includes the Safety Patrol and Leaders of Tomorrow are raising money for their end of the year trip.  You will be able to visit the lot to buy trees or wreaths over the next three weeks, proceeds will benefit the program. If you aren’t looking for a tree or a wreath, there will also be a donation jar.  Prices of the trees will depend on the size of the tree and based on the pricing structure given to the group by the tree farm. 
  • It’s no secret that you’ll encounter crowded stores, malls, and parking lots this time of year. Whether it’s Black Friday or any other shopping day for you, troopers with the Florida Highway Patrol wants to make sure you are safe while shopping.  As parking areas fill during the holiday season, shoppers are often forced to park from shopping center exits, sometimes in poorly lighted areas. With Daylight Savings Time ending in November, you’ll probably walk into the store while the sun is up and leave when it’s dark out.  Which is exactly why FHP wants you to follow these tips:  • Park as close to entrances and exits as you possibly can.  • Always try to walk to and from your car with another person. If you are shopping alone, consider walking near other shoppers in the parking lot.  • If you are shopping alone and leaving at night – particularly if you’re carrying several bundles of gifts, you can ask a security officer to walk you to your car. Troopers say most malls will provide that service.  • If you can’t find a spot up close and have to venture into the far reaches of the lot, try to find a spot that’s well-lit or near a well-traveled road.  • You should put all of your purchases in your trunk and away from plain sight to prevent possible thieves. Troopers suggest saving your most expensive purchases for last, so you can head straight home.  • Make sure you have all the right kind of equipment if you’re buying a huge load, a tree, or any type or large cargo.  • Have your keys ready when you approach your car. Before entering, do a double check to make sure nobody is inside (who is not supposed to be).  If you think about being followed, FHP is providing the following tips:  • Don’t drive home. You would only be telling your follower where you live.  • They want you to stay calm. As long as you think clearly, troopers say you’ll be in control of the situation.  • Flash your lights and honk your horn long enough to attract attention to you, and consequently the person following you.  • Drive to a safe location, like a police station or another type of law enforcement station. Do not leave this safe location, until you’re sure your follower is gone.

The Latest News Videos