There are nearly across the board cuts to city departments under the budget proposal, and many of those departments brought forward savings to the city.
So with one department getting back a big chunk of the savings while others are not, City Council Finance Chair John Crescimbeni is worried about the precedent this will set.
“I think we’re gunna kill any incentive to save money by doing that,” he says.
He’s referencing the council’s decision to give the Sheriff $10.5 million back, a measure that was approved a few weeks ago. With just about two weeks left before the budget must be finalized, and a few big questions still looming, Crescimbeni is concerned about what that move this year will means for future negotiations.
“You think they’re [city departments] are gunna work hard to save money only to have it swept up and given to someone else?”
Crescimbeni supported the Sheriff’s original bid for $6.2 million, which Crescimbeni viewed as a proportional amount of the city savings. Because the council allowed the Sheriff the full $10.5 million, however, he thinks other departments will soon fire back.
“Is public safety a core function? Absolutely. So it firefighting, and so is public libraries, and so is maintaining roadways,” he says.
The latter departments he listed brought savings to the city, but have not received any of that back.
On Tuesday, the Finance Committee is tasked with settling the outstanding issues, including where the bill for some workman’s comp claims should land, and how much savings the council can count on relating to a health care contract that has not yet been signed.
Multiple councilmen have assured me time and again these disputes will be settled in time to meet the deadline, although there are few solutions that will end with all relating parties happy.
Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford submitted a public records request to the city regarding the workman’s comp dispute. Mayor’s Office Spokesman David DeCamp told me the city is working consistently to fill the request, however, it is very broad and requires a lot of redacting due to privacy concerns. The Sheriff’s Officer issued a statement that he will not be commenting on the budget until the request is filled.