JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Balancing the city's budget is a grueling and oftentimes painful process. Just ask the hundreds of city employees who were let go or demoted this week. But what if pink slips were dished out based on bad math?
Since early August, Action News has reported on numerous budget blunders made by the City of Jacksonville and city council. The city council finance committee announced Friday that the budget was finally balanced. A week later, we've leaned it is still $7 million in the red. And that wasn't the first costly oversight.
“We both discovered it. The auditors’ office and we discovered it,” said Ronnie Belton.
That was the city's chief financial officer last month commenting on another $5 million hole found after the mayor's budget was submitted. City council members soon discovered that $5 million error was actually $7.2 million.
“We can't handle our own budgets like that because we can't turn around and tax somebody to make up the short fall,” said Mike Davis of Davis Financial Services.
Davis says Jacksonville taxpayers are getting the run around. He says it's obvious with so many math mistakes; someone at city hall doesn't have a handle on the bookkeeping.
“We are paying them to be experts at this and I think it's pretty much unacceptable that you have this much back and forth,” said Davis.
The city council finance committee goes back to the drawing board at 8a.m. Friday morning at City Hall.
City council members have until the end of the month to balance the $945 million budget.