JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The City Council Finance Committee began its budget review today, meeting for about five hours at City Hall.
Sheriff John Rutherford wants to keep money he saved this budget year and use it next year.
Rutherford pleaded with the Finance Committee to support an ordinance to move $10.5 million dollars to next year's budget to keep police officers on the street and the drug treatment center open.
Councilman Robin Lumb was one who said public safety should be a priority and if the sheriff saved the money, he should be able to keep it.
Six of the seven committee members agreed and voted to support the bill to give the sheriff the money.
Councilman Stephen Joost said crime would go up if the officers were taken off the street. " It is not worth being the murder of capital of Florida to save ten million dollars and keep it out of the budget," said Joost. "It's a good investment, the statistics prove it is a good investment."
Councilman Robin Lumb said if the sheriff saved the money he should be able to keep it. "My priority is public safety and this is the way we should go," said Lumb.
Rutherford was happy with the vote, which still must be approved by the full council. Earlier Rutherford urged the city to fix the pension problems or there will be more layoffs to come. " We have one year to get it right or public safety is in deep peril in this community," said Rutherford.
The extra money still will not prevent the layoff of 71 community service officers in Jacksonville, and the sheriff warns there will be longer response times to traffic accidents.
First Coast News