Mayor releases $950M proposed budget

Percentages of department cuts could depend on pension reform

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The mayor's office on Monday released its preliminary budget for next fiscal year. It has $950 million to work with.

The city is once again dealing with a decline in revenue blamed on the still sluggish local housing market. Property values in Duval County are worth about $42.9 billion, which is down 1.7 percent from last year.

Still, the mayor's staff says they aren't anticipating any layoffs or tax increases.

The mayor's office is hoping pension reform will save the city about $45 million.

"Without retirement reform, we are looking at significant revenue issues," mayor's office spokesman David DeCamp said.

That means that if pension reform passes, each city department may be asked to cut 4 percent this year. If not, they would be asked to cut 18 percent each.

While it is only a preliminary budget, it does appear the mayor is proposing cuts to all departments, including police and fire.

For example, under the proposed budget, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office would lose $8.5 million if pension reform is approved. Without it, it would be asked to cut $29 million.

"This is a preliminary budget, so we will spend the next six weeks working with department heads, constructional officeholders, our employees to strategically make decisions about spending cuts if they are necessary," DeCamp said.

The City Council also just received the numbers Monday.

"Well, two things. No. 1, they were supposed to present this to us on May 1," councilman Matt Schellenberg said. "We have given them over a month or make any adjustments I would like to make. I'm not sure if the council would appreciate having two different budgets."

The mayor's office told Channel 4 that some Council members had requested 2 separate budgets.

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