3 The big story this morning - two days and 17 hours of heated debate are over. The Jacksonville City Council approved next year's nearly one-billion dollar budget last night. As they warned weeks ago- all duval county homeowners WILL BE PAYING more in their property taxes. here's what it means for homeowners in the county- if your home is valued at 150-thousand dollars- with the 50,000 dollar homestead exemption, that's about a 150 dollar increase next year. The battle isn't over just yet- the budget now goes to the mayor's office this morning. Channel 4's Erica Rakow joins us LIVE from City hall - with what's next ... 3 3 THE MAYOR HAS THE ABILITY TO VETO SPECIFIC SPENDING ITEMS, BUT HE CAN'T VETO THE OVERALL BUDGET COUNCIL MEMBERS PASSED OR THE TAX INCREASE. 00-0824-341:34-1:45FOR SIX WEEKS, THE JACKSONVILLE CITY COUNCIL HAS DEBATED A ONE-BILLION DOLLAR BUDGET HANDED TO THEM BY MAYOR ALVIN BROWN IN JULY.MAYOR BROWN'S PROPOSED BUDGET INCLUDED A 61- MILLION DOLLAR CUT IN SERVICES WITH NO INCREASE IN TAXES FOR PROPERTY OWNERS.THE CITY COUNCIL WENT WITH SOMETHING MUCH DIFFERENT.. INSTEAD OF CUTTING MORE CITY SERVICES, THEY'RE BRINGING IN MORE TAX REVENUE BY HAVING PROPERTY OWNERS PAY A HIGHER MILLAGE RATE.Bill Gulliford/Council President 57:52-04 "my payment on my house is going to go up about - I got my notice like everybody else - and mine is going to go up about $500. Do I like that? Not a bit. Not a bit. I can think of other things - including grandkids that I'd rather spend that $500 bucks on." GULLIFORD SAYS THE COUNCIL HAD NO CHOICE BUT TO RAISE THE TAX RATE IN ORDER TO AVOID HAVING TO CUT POLICE OFFICERS AND/OR CLOSING FIRE STATIONS AND LIBRARIES. 51:24-36 "I think it was obvious what the problem was from the very beginning. It was the excessive police pension costs which forced to raise the millage as a result of that, just to keep basic services." THE MAYOR HAS THE ABILITY NOW TO VETO SPECIFIC SPENDING ITEMS. IN A STATEMENT RELEASED RIGHT AFTER THE COUNCIL VOTED LAST NIGHT, HIS SPOKESPERSON SAID: "While the City Charter does not allow Mayor Brown to veto the City Council's tax increase, the Mayor has consistently opposed raising taxes.He presented a savings option that would have prevented tax increases or deep spending cuts by reforming the city retirement system.Those pension reforms would have saved $45 million in next year's budget and more than $1 billion over the long-term had Council approved them." WARREN JONES/COUNCILMAN 47:45-:55 "Given what we've gone through, I would hope that the mayor would not veto any of those items and the budget will stay in tact. I think we've done a good job." LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT YEAR, GULLIFORD SAYS HE'S WORRIED THAT IF THEY DON'T RESOLVE THE POLICE AND FIRE PENSION FUND ISSUE THERE WILL BE AN EVEN BIGGER HOLE.MAYOR BROWN HAS UNTIL TOMORROW TO SUBMIT ANY ITEMS IN THE SPENDING PLAN HE WANTS TO VETO. 3 Councilman Matt Schellenberg was one of JUST TWO to vote No ...to the budget. He argued...there was another option that would NOT have forced the council to raise taxes.He's joining us LIVE in studio to discuss that...and we're also looking at what was CUT...by the council last night.