Jacksonville, FL - Following a billion dollar budget which included a 14.4% property tax hike for you, a special committee has been diving in to the details.
After months of work, that committee is wrapping up, and finding some needs.
“We really need to look at areas where maybe we can save and maybe we can invest,” says Councilman Clay Yarborough.
Yarborough chairs the City Council Budget Analysis Special Committee. They were tasked by the City Council President to go to each City department to discuss areas of success, areas for potential efficiency, and areas where more funding may be needed.
What sticks out most to Yarborough is the Sheriff’s request- which will total about $8 million- to add more officers on the street and restore the Community Service Officers.
“It’s not an unreasonable request,” he says.
He’s also taking a closer look at the needs of Public Works. Through this process he says the committee has learned much of the equipment used to maintain drainage ditches and storm basins is old or in disrepair.
Coming off a year when the City Council raised the property tax rate in order to fund some basic city services like road maintenance, Yarborough says they will look at savings and efficiencies anywhere they can to keep more from coming out of your wallet.
“If we stay with the millage rate that we’re at, I don’t think we’ll break even,” he says.
He says a lot is hanging in the balance with the ongoing pension reform negotiations. If there is no savings generated there for the City, Yarborough says it will be difficult to come up with enough money.
A full committee report will come out in about two weeks.