Residents Voice City Budget Cut Concerns

City Council To Vote On Cuts To Sheriff's Office, Libraries

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - River City residents got a turn Tuesday evening to address their concerns at City Hall about a long list of proposed cuts in Jacksonville city spending, including police layoffs and shorter hours at libraries.

The City Council listened to various opinions at a public hearing on the budget, which has to be adopted in about two weeks.

Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford has said 52 positions currently filled by police officers, corrections officers and civilians could be cut, as well as 70 vacant positions eliminated because of city budget cuts.

The council has agreed to only cut $2.2 million in hopes that the police union will agree to some salary concessions, namely a 2 percent salary cut.

Meanwhile, library supporters say the library system's proposed budget was going to be cut by $900,000. Then the council finance committee voted to cut another $2.1 million, which would mean all libraries would close on Mondays.

Additional budget cuts will mean that certain libraries will be open Sundays for only four hours.

"The biggest thing we need in Jacksonville is jobs," library supporter Judy Klein said, "and the big problem is that for anyone in Jacksonville looking for a job, the library is the place you go to fill out resumes, to apply online, which most employers require today. That's all done at the library."

City Council President Stephen Joost said before Tuesday evening's meeting that he thinks the budget will go through without much difficulty.

"If you do additional spending in other areas, you've got to cut in other areas," Joost said. "Right now, I think the budget will pretty much go through as is, but you never know."

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