Mayor Brown submits billion dollar spending plan

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Mayor Alvin Brown detailed a billion dollar spending plan to make Jacksonville "a city of opportunity."

That was the theme of Brown's speech at city hall promising to invest in the Downtown specifically $12 million to support the Jacksonville Landing. Money is also budgeted for tearing down the old Duval Courthouse on Bay Street, environmental work on the Shipyards and designing changes for Metro Park.

At another location in the heart of the city, Brown wants to spend $1.2 million for environmental work at the Shipyards, which currently sits vacant.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is also a winner in the budget with Brown wanting to add on 80 more officers with half of them being community service officers who handle calls like traffic crashes. Those positions were cut from the budget completely in recent years.

Sheriff John Rutherford says more boots on the ground are needed, but added the city's problem with violence goes beyond having more manpower.

"Just adding police is not the answer, we got to build strong families with strong values. All of the crime is about values," said Rutherford.

The proposed spending plan also calls on the city tapping into city reserves by the tune of $17 million. Brown says of this move,"it is both necessary and the right thing to do."

Some council members questioned Mayor Brown saying this budget does not represent a tax increase since it is built on a budget that had the council approving a property tax hike to avoid deep cuts.

Brown says his budget proposal does not validate the actions of the council last year in raising taxes.

The city council this summer will begin reviewing the budget. The city's spending plan must be adopted by October 1.


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