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City Council defeats property-tax hike proposal

Councilman Clark's proposal goes down in a 6-12 vote.

Posted: August 4, 2014 - 8:34am  |  Updated: August 4, 2014 - 12:28pm
FILE - City council member Richard Clark talks with members of the media after the budget meeting took a recess at 2:15 am Wednesday morning. The Jacksonville City Council started meeting Tuesday night, September 24, 2013 to listen to final public comments related to proposed 3013-2014 budget, discuss a long list of floor amendments and ultimately vote on the budget for the next year. At midnight the council was not yet halfway through voting on the almost 40 budget amendments and finally called for a recess at 2:15 am Wednesday morning to meet again at 2 pm Wednesday and complete the process. (The Florida Times-Union, Bob Self)
FILE - City council member Richard Clark talks with members of the media after the budget meeting took a recess at 2:15 am Wednesday morning. The Jacksonville City Council started meeting Tuesday night, September 24, 2013 to listen to final public comments related to proposed 3013-2014 budget, discuss a long list of floor amendments and ultimately vote on the budget for the next year. At midnight the council was not yet halfway through voting on the almost 40 budget amendments and finally called for a recess at 2:15 am Wednesday morning to meet again at 2 pm Wednesday and complete the process. (The Florida Times-Union, Bob Self)

The Jacksonville City Council on Monday set a tentative property tax that does not include an increase, rejecting one councilman’s proposal to raise taxes.

By setting next year’s proposed maximum tax at this year’s rate, council effectively closed the door on raising taxes. If council later tried to raise taxes, state law would require the county property appraiser to send mailed notices to landowners, which would be a costly process.

Councilman Richard Clark made a last-minute attempt to raise taxes at Monday’s meeting, but it failed by a 6-12 vote.

Clark’s plan was to use the tax increase solely to pay off the city’s looming pension debt. He also wanted to use $61 million that the pension fund tentatively agreed to transfer to the city to resolve the $55 million in expenses that the Council Auditor has questioned in Mayor Alvin Brown’s proposed budget.

However, council members rejected Clark’s proposal, saying property owners alone shouldn’t carry the burden to pay off the pension debt.

Now, some on council are exploring the possibility of adding a half-cent sales tax referendum on this November’s ballot that would help pay off the city’s $1.65 billion debt to the Police and Fire Pension Fund.

Clark had responded that his proposal would not have precluded such a vote but simply provides a funding backstop for the city if voters don't approve a sales tax. That did not convince his colleagues.

Councilman John Crescimbeni acknowledged the sales tax may not pass voter scrutiny, but he said previous tax referendums have passed before with the support of the city's political leaders.

"We're 2-0 in the ballot box," Crescimbeni said.

Check back for updates.

Comments (2)

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Mockingjay
1711
Points
Mockingjay 08/04/14 - 12:59 pm
0
0
Maybe council will ensure

Maybe council will ensure after the pension bills are paid off they can pay off the abused banking fund debt then actually finally have a Pay Go account for road,park and building maintenance instead of bond debt.

I wonder though...voter referendum for the BJP passed by hundreds of thousands of peple was changed by a council body of 19 and much money squandered and misspent and many projects never completed.

Will council protect the community and their money this time around.

CM Joost stated the city is making $90 million more this year than 3 years ago. Where is that money going? Just how protected are we?

johnctaughtme
13602
Points
johnctaughtme 08/04/14 - 11:56 am
0
0
Premium Member
It will be interesting to see

It will be interesting to see if some politicians and civic leaders are as fond of using referendums for other proposed projects.

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