Sheriff Rutherford has gone to plan B in his fight to get funding restored to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office after suffering deep cuts in Mayor Alvin Brown's FY 2012-2013 budget.
"What I would like to request now is that I be allowed to keep all of the savings we were able to find in our budget this year," said Sheriff Rutherford Tuesday at a city council hearing at City Hall in downtown.
Originally, Rutherford had asked for an increase in the millage rate for the city, arguing that taxpayers would pay the same rate on property taxes that they did last year while helping to keep officers employed and programs like the Community Service Officers and the Matrix House drug rehab facility funded within JSO.
"When the union took their three percent cut in salary, I didn't go back and hire those officers because I knew this day was coming," Rutherford said.
City council voted not to raise the millage rate Tuesday, so the Sheriff changed up his plan and asked city council during his presentation to restore the entire $8.8 million saved in JSO's budget for this year.
"All we're asking is that I be allowed to keep the savings so that I can keep officers on the street and, if we can find another 1.6 [million], we can keep Matrix House up and operating," said Rutherford.
The Sheriff says Mayor Brown cut an additional $6.1 million dollars from JSO after he submitted the budget in addition to the more than $22 million already cut from JSO in the budget. With that money Rutherford says he could save nearly 100 sworn officer positions that he's going to have to lay off due to the mayor's late budget cut and will be $2.7 million on his way to the $4.3 million he would need to keep the Matrix House open.
The Community Service Officer program will still be eliminated from JSO.