Public speaks out to avoid budget cuts

City Council votes on budget amendments Sept. 24

By Scott Johnson - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The council passed a property tax increase of almost 10 percent Tuesday night but that number is expected to be lower in the final budget. 

The council had to raise taxes to avoid major cuts to city departments like the Sheriff's Office and public libraries.

At the meeting, the public was invited to voice their concern over budget cuts and many people took to the microphone to voice concern over cuts that remain in the proposed budget. 

Students who receive money from the city for educational programs picketed at the front door of City Hall Tuesday night.

"Right now they are demonstrating to let the City of Jacksonville know they are a student, that if you don't budget their education, it will affect us long term," said Shariffa Spicer of the Bridge of Northeast Florida.

Inside council chambers, other groups that are expected to see budget cuts ahead asked the council not to make the cuts. 

Organizations like Meals on Wheels are looking at getting close to $200,000 cut from their budget.

"I'm here to ask, on part of the seniors who rely on this one meal, it seems short sighted for you to look at one aspect of this. This may be (the) difference between them being independent and institutionalized, which is always a cost to the city," said one senior.

The council is set to vote on all budget amendments and finalized the budget and tax increase on September 24.  The city's new fiscal year begins October 1.

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