ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

Sponsored By: Two Men and a Truck
cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
78°
Thunderstorms
H 95° L 76°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    78°
    Current Conditions
    Thunderstorms. H 95° L 76°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day Created with Sketch.
    86°
    Afternoon
    Thunderstorms. H 95° L 76°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day Created with Sketch.
    79°
    Evening
    Sct Thunderstorms. H 87° 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
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

  • Andy Szasz was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2012 and beat the initial cancer after receiving treatment, but after falling ill with pneumonia in December, he was rushed to the hospital and placed into an induced coma the next day when he stopped breathing. >> Read more trending news Doctors at Southampton General Hospital in England estimated he would be in a coma for a week, but they were surprised when he woke up after just four days with the help of his dog, Teddy, a 4-year-old schnauzer-poodle mix. While waiting for him to come out of a coma, Andy’s wife, Estelle, received special permission to bring Teddy into the hospital. Pet visits usually take place outside the hospital, but hospital staff made an exception for Teddy. Inside Edition reported that Andy woke up from his coma as soon as Teddy entered the hospital room and started barking. “Ted is such a remarkable little dog in many ways,” Andy said. “He’s clever, loving, loyal, funny and a right little character.” >> Related: Mastiff named Martha crowned world’s ugliest dog Fiona Hall, senior sister for the general intensive care unit, told the Daily Mail that having pets around during recovery can be incredibly beneficial for patients, their friends and families, and hospital staff. “It can be motivational, aiding recovery, and can provide a pleasant and familiar experience in what can otherwise prove to be a long, uncomfortable journey in hospital,” she said. For helping his owner wake up, Teddy was recognized by the U.K.’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), the same organization Andy adopted him from, under a special animal category. He was the only animal to win an award under the newly-created category.  >> Related: Dog saves family with nine children from house fire
  • An overweight passenger on a Spirit Airlines flights from Las Vegas to Denver said he was embarrassed and humiliated by the airline when it took away one of two seats he had booked in order to fly more comfortably. >> Read more trending news Jose Cordova told Denver 7 that he bought two seats on both his original flight to Vegas and for the return trip because of his size. 'I am a big person and I know one seat wouldn't fit for me, and to be comfortable, I wanted to have two seats,' Cordova said.  'You don't want to overhang on someone else's lap, so you want to make sure you have that extra seat without bothering anybody.'  Cordova said his flight to Vegas was fine, but Spirit overbooked his return flight and took one of his seats without asking. >> Related: United Airlines changes policy after man dragged from flight “They stole one of his seats. They sold it out from under him,” Denver 7 quoted one of Cordova’s friend Scott Tenorio as saying. Spirit apologized to Cordova and said it was refunding the cost of his flights. It also said it was investigating what happened.
  • A 14-year-old girl fell 25 feet from a gondola ride at Six Flags Amusement Park in Queensbury, New York, Saturday night as a group of park guests gathered under her to help break her fall. >> Read more trending news The “Sky Ride” was stopped at the park about 55 miles north of Albany when the accident happened, according to CBS News. The teenager was on the ride with a child relative when she fell from the two-person car, the Warren County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.  The ride was stopped after the operator was told of a rider in distress, CBS reported. The video shows the girl somehow slipped through the safety bar, which briefly held her aloft while she dangled in the air. The teen from Delaware struck a tree before landing in the crowd, which had gathered to catch her. She was treated at the park, then taken to an area hospital. >> Related: Girl, 11, dies after falling out of ride at water park Park officials said the ride was working properly. “There does not appear to be any malfunction of the ride, but we have closed the attraction until the a thorough review can be completed,” USA Today reported park officials said in a statement. Another person was injured as he was trying to help catch the girl.
  • A missing North Carolina teenager, who vanished last year, has turned up at a home in Georgia. Hailey Burns, now 17, has been reunited with her family at an undisclosed location in Georgia, according to law enforcement sources. >> Read more trending news A FBI special agent in Charlotte learned of information that led investigators to a home in Duluth, Georgia, where they found Burns. A man found at the home, Michael Ren Wysolovski, was taken into custody and is now facing a number of state charges, the FBI said. The FBI in Charlotte and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department will continue their investigation into Burns' disappearance and will work closely with the FBI Atlanta and the Gwinnett County Police Department.  Burns  was last been seen at her Charlotte-area home on May 23, 2016. Police said at the time they had information that she may have left of her own accord and they weren’t sure if she had help. “You have to let go of the hope that she will just walk through the door, the teen’s mother, Shaunna Burns, said in a later interview. “We are past that point. She is not just going to come home in the middle of the night. You have to hope that they still find her, wherever she is.” >> Related: Body, likely missing Arkansas boy, found after 3 relatives discovered dead “You have to distract yourself because you will drive yourself crazy wondering what you could have done, or could be doing,” her father, Anthony Burns, said after his daughter disappeared.
  • Like other first year students corralled in Wesleyan College’s auditorium in Macon, Georgia, Dana Amihere didn’t know what to make of the spectacle unfolding on stage. >> Read more trending news It was fall 2006 and the freshman had been awakened in the dead of night. A group of sophomores stood on stage yelling, screaming and cheering as part of a hazing ritual that seemed part pep rally, part seance, she said. But one feature struck Amihere, an African American, about the young women on stage tormenting the first year students: They wore purple, hooded robes. “They looked just like Klan robes,” she said. “It was kind of like bells and whistles going off.” Amihere had no idea at the time how close she was to the truth. For more than a century, the nation’s oldest college chartered for women has had historical links to the Ku Klux Klan that have never been formally acknowledged. Its class names in 1909, 1913 and 1917 were the Ku Klux Klan. The 1913 yearbook is named the “Ku Klux.” A sketch of a masked night rider on horseback galloping under crescent moon graces the title page. The 1910 yearbook contains a prominent sketch of a female figure in white hood and robe holding a burning cross. Read more here.

The Latest News Videos