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Jacksonville looks to close budget holes

2:46 PM, Jul 26, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- After Mayor Alvin Brown floated his proposed budget, the City Auditor responded with questions to the tune of a 35 million dollar hole.

Some of the issues raised were about where the city is coming up with revenue figures. The budget includes:  $1M in unidentified donations to Parks & Rec, $1.5M from Red Light Cameras that haven't been installed, and $600K from disposal fees that have not been collected.

A very large part of the budget revolves around the Sheriff's Department.

Sheriff John Rutherford is asking City Council to restore $6.1 million dollars to his budget. which he says he saved last year.

But just last month, the Sheriff filed emergency legislation asking to spend that money he saved.

"Thank goodness the Council didn't approve that bill that he wanted to do last month because then we wouldn't have been able to talk about the bill that's currently pending now," said Councilmember John Cresembeni.

Crescembeni also questioned the money that the Sheriff has already spent. He points out that last year, the Sheriff spent $30,750 on 15 new bicycles, and $54,702 on 2 custom golf carts for the department.

"If he knew that this budget year was going to be so challenging, I have seen some of those items and they raise a question: should we have spent $30,000 on new bicycles? Should we have spent money on new golf cars," questioned Cresembeni.

But the Sheriff argues that he has used department money as effectively as he could, and laying off officers is the last thing he wants to do.

First Coast News

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