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Jacksonville City Council committee recommends 2.5 percent across-the-board budget cuts

Posted: September 5, 2014 - 9:07am  |  Updated: September 5, 2014 - 4:18pm

First Coast area business news

4 p.m update: After knocking out about half of their $22 million savings goal, the committee decided to make up the additional $11.2 million by reducing each city department's budget by 2.45 percent.

The committee imposed the lapse in the budget of police, fire, parks and all other departments that are funded by the city's general fund. Those cuts are on top of other reductions the committee has made to their budgets so far.

Noon update: The committee has reduced their savings target to about $11.7 million with a mixed bag of cuts in various city departments, including a reduction in park maintenance and defunding overtime and part-time hours.

The committee is about to break for lunch. When they return, they'll continue to look for additional savings. The committee by the end of the day must also approve a list of capital improvement projects for next year.

9:30 a.m. update: The committee has ignored recommendations from the Council Auditors Office to cover a possible $6.8 million shortfall in pension contributions in the proposed budget, which has reduced their savings target to about $15.9 million.


 

An earlier version of the story appears below:

Across-the-board cuts to police, fire and other departments could be recommended by a Jacksonville City Council committee Friday, their last day to fill a $22 million hole they believe to be in next year’s budget.

The council Finance Committee met to finalize their proposed budget for next year. They have until the end of the day to accomplish two goals they set a month ago: Balancing the budget without spending one-time sources of money and determining how much money they believe the city can responsibly borrow next year.

The committee’s budget will be submitted to the full city council Tuesday. Council can make additional changes to the budget and must approve it by the end of the month.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. and last until 5 p.m. The Times-Union will have a reporter at the meeting.

Watch Jacksonville.com for updates and see our full coverage in tomorrow’s Times-Union.

Christopher Hong: (904) 359-4272

Comments (3)

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Lie Detector
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Lie Detector 09/05/14 - 09:59 pm
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Premium Member

Wow, is this a joke? City

Wow, is this a joke? City council closing fire stations, laying off firefighters and cutting the police budget? All while giving up a million from the stadium naming rights, blowing a million at Hemming and the list goes on. Then the refuse to make their required payment to the pension??? Isn't this what got us into the pension mess to begin with? Who is that Boyer chick? Oh, that's right. She is the one with a husband who will be collecting a $100,000 plus a year pension an she gets one too for a part time job doing nothing.

Mockingjay
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Mockingjay 09/05/14 - 08:52 pm
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Premium Member

And yet every council

And yet every council committee voted to give away our RIGHTS to our 25% share of the naming rights deal on OUR taxpayer financed municipal stadium.

An amount of $911,000 this year that would have come in handy on this budget and the Jaguars HAD TO HAVE IT!

When the jaguars boast of being all in, all they really mean is they are all in to our pockets while they laugh all the way to the bank

Maybe if the jaguars were finally gone and living large off another host SMG would actually start working for this city thus the taxpayers and rent that stadium and other entertainment venues out on a regular basis like they should instead of letting the jaguars dictate what can and cant be done in our venues.

Sure would be nice if people actually worked for the community that pays the Bills especially in so called "partnerships"

johnctaughtme
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johnctaughtme 09/05/14 - 10:33 am
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Premium Member

"Updated", and as so often

"Updated", and as so often happens, comments, mostly adverse, from the first report are omitted.

Once again, this is hardly a testament to Jacksonville's political, business, and civic leadership. Talking about reducing police, fire and rescue, and libraries, among other basic functions and services, while they are talking about a "New Landing", "New Hemming Park", and other downtown initiatives is hypocritical at best. Mayors and Council members of not so long ago, as well as the architects of Consolidation would not recognize this order of priorities.

Of course we can anticipate another weekend of pension stories. The pensions, as with the entire City budget, and perhaps JEA's, are suffering from the effects of tax cuts which went on longer than was advisable. JEA, which is part of the other City pension fund which is rarely mentioned, may have similar problems from keeping rates artificially low during the same period.

The City's apparently making the minimum required payments into pension funds was similar to having a very large balance on a credit card, but making only the monthly required payment. Even if one didn't make any more purchases, it could take a very long time to pay off the balance due. The pension situation is an effect of the City's current problem, not the cause.

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