Mayor: No budget vetoes; but no signature either

City Council could override mayoral vetoes with majority vote

By Jim Piggott - Reporter
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Mayor Alvin Brown

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Mayor Alvin Brown will not sign the City County bills authorizing $1 billion in spending next year and raising property taxes 14 percent, but is allowing them to become law without his signature.

In a letter to Jacksonville City Council President Bill Gulliford released Monday afternoon, Brown wrote: "In order to focus on ways we can work together to improve our community, I have decided not to exercise my line-item veto authority."

DOCUMENT:  Read mayor's letter to Council president

A 1 p.m. special meeting City Council had scheduled to consider any vetoes was cancelled just before noon.

A simple majority of council could override a mayoral veto and the spending plan passed last week Wednesday on a 16-2 vote after a two-day, 17-hour meeting.

Councilman Greg Anderson, head of the Finance Committee, said he was, "Not surprised, but relieved."

"This was very difficult budget for everyone, and the Council was ready to take action," Anderson said on The Local Station at noon. "We're not going to fire 381 police officers, we're going to keep the libraries open, we're going to keep the pools operating, we're going to resurface road. I think the citizens will see the investment for the first time in many years."

Property taxes in Duval County will go up 14 percent to pay for the city's spending, which would cost the owner of a homesteaded $150,000 home an additional $140 next year.

The mayor cannot veto the entire budget or the tax rate, but he has the authority to vetoes of specific spending items.

The budget goes into effect Tuesday, the city's 2013-14 fiscal year.

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