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Jacksonville residents respond to mayor's proposed budget

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Thompsons love to take strolls through San Marco. They use the sidewalks often.

"We’re thankful that we have sidewalks, but they are very hard to walk on, or, like, kids fall, so it’s safety," said resident Carla Thompson.

That’s one of the top budget items on Mayor Lenny Curry’s budget proposal that the City Council will get the chance to hear tomorrow.

Curry is aiming for $11 million to make neighborhoods more pedestrian-friendly.

"Especially with families, we need sidewalks, because you don’t know who’s riding our streets sometimes. There’s accidents, and we need sidewalks." said Thompson. 

But the mayor says the need is widespread.

He hopes to pump money into major historic buildings like the Ritz and Florida theatres, more than $2 million into drainage improvements in Brooklyn and dock development in Mayport.

Plus, money into school resource officers and programs to combat violence.

It’s nice to know that the mayor is putting money into everything, put money into sidewalks and things like that," said resident Justin Thompson. "I think it’s very important to have our first responders, police, firefighters, to have the correct budget."

Curry wants everything from a new fire station to station upgrades across the city, and people we spoke to say that’s what is needed to help save lives.

Thompson and her husband remember the one time they had to call first responders when their son was having a seizure, so making sure the Fire Department has everything it needs is very important them.

"Especially because we have a little one, so we want, like, emergency right away if we have an emergency with our kid," said Carla Thompson. 

That’s why the family is hoping Curry’s budget, if approved, will be a huge help. It calls for $5 million for the construction of a brand new fire station in the Arlington area. 

More than $5 million for fire station upgrades and renovations across the city. 

Randy Wyse, president of the Jacksonville Firefighters Association, tells us the Jacksonville Fire Department has had a lot of growth over the last few years, now with 60 stations with many needing some TLC.

"A lot of these stations were built in the '30s and '40s, and our apparatuses are much bigger and become more advanced. A lot more electrical needs, so some of these upgrades are needed," said Wyse.  

Plus, it’ll add three new rescue units for Talleyrand, St. Nicholas and Mayport. It’ll also provide funding to expand Fire Station 10, hoping to reduce call times and saving lives.

"Minutes matter. It saves lives, so anything that the city can do to enhance that response time," said Wyse. 

Wyse says these are things that needed to be done a long time ago, and he, like many people who live in the city, is ready to see the change. 

After two public hearings, the final budget must be approved by the full council prior to Oct. 1.