That’s the hole the city of Jacksonville now needs to fill after Chief Financial Officer and other budget officials uncovered some computational errors in the Mayor’s budget proposal. One of the biggest problems, to the tune of $5 million, stems from problems with a formula.
“There was this formula that you use for the computation, and we left a step out,” Belton told me.
And that’s not the end of the mistakes.
“A couple of them were putting a decimal point in the wrong place. Instead of posting an indebtedness of $1.1 million it got posted as $110,000- so it had a $900,000 negative impact,” says Finance Chair John Crescimbeni.
Crescimbeni told me he was not happy to first find out about these problems at the finance meeting Thursday. He believes the committee members would all agree they would have liked to find out in advance.
Belton says this was not a case of deception, but purely error. He realized the problem when talking about estimates with the Council Auditor, and they are now working on figuring out how to fix the problem. He says his office will work with the Council to amicably find a solution.
Crescimbeni thinks the Council shouldn’t have to play a part.
“His office is gunna have to do more than help figure it out, his office is gunna have to flat out figure it out on their own,” he says.
He told me finding these errors means, in his opinion, the Council was never presented a balanced budget. As such, it should be the administration’s responsibility to fix it.
Belton says it is very early in the process, so he is not sure where the money will come from, but more layoffs are not off the table. Crescimbeni says he is pushing for an exact timeline on when we will have workable ideas in place, but he has only been told the finance office will “be in touch next week”.
He hopes this is the only problem they find during these budget proceedings.