JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- An ad hoc committee designed to develop ideas to save the city's budget was announced today.
The committee of three Jacksonville City Council members will be tasked with recommending strategies to save money; those will be considered by the Finance Committee during the upcoming budget review process.
"The upcoming budget promises to be one of the most difficult in the history of the consolidated government, and the city council will need to devote considerable time and creative thought to producing the best possible outcome," said council President Jack Webb today.
The group will look at everything, he said. A similar committee existed years ago and Webb said he decided to create the ad hoc group again in order to trim the fat.
"Since there will be some turnover on the City Council and a new Finance Committee will be in place come the first of July, it will be prudent for the council to take advantage of existing experience and knowledge and to get the budget consideration process started as early as possible so that the next Finance Committee will have some solid preparatory work with which to begin its consideration," he said.
The group is on a mission to find out where tax dollars are going. Webb wants the group to be transparent and take public input, he said.
The three-councilmen team's main focus is central operations.
"Cost(s) particularly of information technology has been going up substantially over the years. And this has been (the case)...with the library and the sheriff's department, and so we are going to get to the bottom of this," said Councilman Stephen Joost, who will lead the committee.
Councilmen Warren Jones and Bill Bishop, also on the committee, said they want to know why costs are escalating.
"This is probably going to be one of the most challenging budgets we've found in some time," said Jones.
Their concern is declining property values and the impact they will have on the budget. "We have to change how we think and I think this subcommittee will give us an opportunity to analyze how we do what we do," said Bishop.
The group's goal is to find 60 million to cut somewhere. Webb said nothing has been ruled out, including layoffs.
Want to tell the city counil what you think? Email your council members.
Dr. Johnny Gaffney
E. Denise Lee
Warren A. Jones
Reginald L. Brown
First Coast News