On Air Now

Listen Now

Weather

cloudy-day
34°
Clear
H 49° L 35°
  • cloudy-day
    34°
    Current Conditions
    Clear. H 49° L 35°
  • clear-night
    43°
    Evening
    Clear. H 49° L 35°
  • clear-night
    37°
    Morning
    Clear. H 57° L 50°
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
Homestead exemption vote hangs over Jacksonville city budget talks
Close

Homestead exemption vote hangs over Jacksonville city budget talks

Homestead exemption vote hangs over Jacksonville city budget talks
Photo Credit: Stephanie Brown

Homestead exemption vote hangs over Jacksonville city budget talks

As Jacksonville’s City Council begins to dive in to the $1.2 billion proposed City budget for the upcoming fiscal year, an issue that could impact the FY2019-2020 budget is already looming over talks.

Florida voters will decide in November whether to add a new homestead exemption that would save homeowners on their home value between $100,000 and $125,000. While this would give qualifying homeowners a break of up to a few hundred dollars on their property tax bill each year, it would therefore mean less that the City is collecting each year. In Jacksonville, it’s believed that could be a hole of about $27 million in FY2019-2020, if the measure passes. 

“We will probably be able to absorb the $27 million homestead exemption and still have growth, but what we won’t be able to do is increase anything. And some of the things that we are doing this year will really demand increased support next year,” says City Councilwoman and Finance Committee member Lori Boyer. 

Boyer is looking at the big capital improvements package pitched by Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, in his FY2018-2019 budget proposal that was recently released. She says there is a need for an investment that big, because of years that Jacksonville got behind on investing, when the budget was tight. 

“All that does is barely hold you own on keeping potholes filled and sidewalk cracks repaired. I mean, it is just bare bones maintenance, and it is not investing in anything new,” she says. 

But with the projects that have been put forward comes the need for support in future years- inspectors, people to manage contracts, other support staff, and more. 

Curry says his office has been planning ahead for the possibility of the new homestead exemption, and he’s says he can continue to present budget proposals that don’t raise the property tax rate- although he didn’t specifically say how they would accommodate it. 

“We’re prepared for next year, and I’m confident, I’m sure that we’ll be able to do what we need to do for the people of Jacksonville without raising taxes,” Curry said, after his budget proposal presentation. 

His latest proposal keeps the property tax rate steady, although increasing property values and new construction in Duval County means what you’re paying will still go up. The City Council Finance Committee sided with Curry for the upcoming year in not raising taxes. 

“I do believe that you let taxpayers keep their own funds when we don’t need them. You know, I’m a believer in the idea that- let my individual citizens decide how they want to spend their money, and it’s only when government needs them to provide services, that we ask,” Boyer says. 

But Boyer cautioned that, while a hike may not be needed right now, it’s not something she can definitively rule out if the new homestead exemption passes. Finance Chair Greg Anderson- who leads this year’s budget scrutiny in the Council- says that is something that will be hanging over their review, at some level. 

“That [the new exemption] would significantly impact the revenue that our City has to allocate, and that would impact areas like public safety and libraries and parks,” Anderson says. 

The Finance Committee will spend the coming weeks going through the Mayor’s budget proposal. Anderson says he’ll be looking for the fiscal soundness of the proposal, as well as the priorities of the spending plan. 

WOKV continues to work through the budget proposal. We will bring you insight on how your tax dollars are being spent, as that review takes place.

Read More

The Latest News Headlines

  • The Lake City Police Department in Florida is asking for the public’s help in locating Kellie Woofe, 13. Kellie was last seen running west on Faith Road near the Bascom Norris intersection on Monday. Police said her grandfather reported her missing. After an argument that happened in his car, he told police Kellie got out of the car while they were in the Interface parking lot and ran off. LCPD said she was wearing a black jacket and ripped blue jeans. If you see her, you are asked to call police at 386-752-4343 or call 911. Kellie is 5 feet, 3 inches tall and weighs 130 pounds. She has red hair and blue eyes.
  • Search crews have found the body of a Montana teen who vanished on New Year’s Day, deputies said. According to USA Today, 16-year-old Selena Not Afraid was found dead near an Interstate 90 rest area Monday morning, weeks after she disappeared while traveling from Billings to Hardin after a New Year’s Eve party. Investigators do not suspect foul play, the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office said. In an FBI notice, authorities said the girl “left a disabled vehicle and walked into a field adjacent to the rest area” about 2 p.m. Jan. 1. She was “not dressed for the weather conditions,” authorities said. Not Afraid’s disappearance sparked a multiagency search involving hundreds of people, the Billings Gazette reported. Read more here or here.
  • Officials have euthanized a mountain lion that attacked a toddler on a trail at a California park, Orange County officials said. According to CNN and the Desert Sun, the attack happened after 4 p.m. local time Monday as a family visited Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park. “The mountain lion came out of somewhere and grabbed the 3-year-old by the neck and dragged him a short distance,” Capt. Tony Bommarito of the Orange County Fire Authority told the Desert Sun. The child’s father then sprang into action, hurling a backpack at the mountain lion, Bommarito said. The animal set the boy free and went for the backpack before climbing a tree, the outlets reported. After the family fled to safety, the boy was treated at a hospital, authorities said. Orange County deputies said the boy is “OK,” the Desert Sun reported. Officials euthanized the cougar with permission from the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife, the outlets reported. Read more here or here.
  • A man has been arrested for causing a crash that killed a local father in September 2018.  Florida Highway Patrol and Nassau County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested 32-year-old Brian Holtkamp on Friday.  Troopers posted a photo of Holtkamp as he was put into a the back of a patrol car.  He’s charged with DUI manslaughter. FHP says Holtkamp was driving north on U.S. 17 north of Bruney Road in Yulee, when he drove into the other lane and collided head-on with another vehicle.The passenger in that car, 37-year-old Justin Cribb, died. He left behind a 13-year-old son.  Cribb’s mother told Action News Jax his family misses him terribly.  The driver was seriously hurt in the crash.   According to FHP, Holtkamp tested positive for drugs, including meth. Action News Jax confirmed that he has prior arrests for charges including driving under the influence, burglary and grand theft.
  • With chilly temperatures this morning in the 30’s, inland communities are under a freeze warning until 10 am.   Action News Jax Meteorologist Corey Simma says temperatures this afternoon only climb to the upper 40's to near 50 degrees. And it will be breezy so it feels colder. Expect a widespread freeze on Wednesday morning, and a hard freeze well inland, with another day in the 50's. Then a gradual warming trend will arrive to end the week.  Friday’s high temperature will be in the low 70’s but with widely scattered afternoon showers.

The Latest News Videos