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Saturday night deadline on deal to address city's pension crisis

Sales tax to pay off deficit requires unions to agree to close current plans

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The mayor's deadline for unions representing Jacksonville's police and firefighters to accept new contracts is Saturday night

Duval County voters approved a new, half-cent sales tax to begin in 2030 to pay off Jacksonville's $2.7 billion pension deficit, but it can only go into effect if the city and its unions can reach an agreement to close existing pension plans.

During a Jan. 11 collective bargaining session on wages and pensions, Mayor Lenny Curry told the Fraternal Order of Police and Jacksonville Association of Firefighres they had 30 days to take or leave his current proposal. 

Curry has promised a 3 percent bonus and a 20 percent raise for the city's public safety employees, as well as the return of benefits cut during the financial downturn in the 2000s in exchange for current employees increasing their pension contribution from 8 percent to 10 percent.

The plan would also close the pension to any new employees, who would be enrolled in a 401(k) retirement saving plan instead. Curry promised the city would contribute 25 percent to that plan.

The police and fire unions been negotiating with the city over the past month and there has been some give-and-take, but the unions have not accepted Curry's agreement. 

The mayor's office said the unions have until Saturday at midnight or the offer is off the table. Then they would have to start from scratch again with the negotiations. 

 


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