JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- On the eve of appearing before the City Council's Finance Committee, Sheriff John Rutherford pitched his plan to minimize the pain of deeper budget cuts.
While speaking with reporters, the Sheriff outlined his proposal, which would involve JSO being allowed to retain savings accumulated over the past year from officer pay cuts and reduced overtime expenses.
"We've saved that money ... scrimped and saved all year to get this $11 million because I knew this moment would come," said Rutherford armed with charts he will take to city hall.
Rutherford says the savings would allow him to keep 95 officers on the street, 58 corrections officers and keep the Community Transition Center open. The center, which is located downtown, is a minimum security facility that also houses a drug rehab center.
Rutherford noted that in a few weeks, the 70 Community Service Officers cut will no longer be on the force. The department also cut 154 civilian and 74 officers.
The sheriff believes his proposal make sense.
"I think it is interesting that somebody wants to talk about $100,000 we spent for an oven because we've got to feed 3,600 inmates three meals a day. They want to talk about $100,000 I'm spending instead of the $11 million I'm saving. I'm sorry. That doesn't quite make sense," said Rutherford.
The sheriff says unless there is pension reform in place soon, he expects next year to be much worse in terms of cuts.
The Council's Finance Committee meets at City Hall, with the meeting open to public beginning at 9 a.m.
First Coast News