JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – City council members are calling this the most difficult and exhausting budget process in years. Although the finance committee approved a proposed balanced budget Friday, that will most likely change in the coming weeks.
Another Friday in finance committee and another announcement made about a balanced budget. But if you’re thinking a sound financial plan is set in stone, think again. Action News has reported on numerous budget blunders in the past month.
"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 financial consultant Mike Davis.
City councilman John Crescimbeni said the budget was balanced last week but now the city says worker's comp claims went unfunded to the tune of $5 million to $7 million.
City officials want Sheriff John Rutherford to hand over the cash from his budget. Rutherford is threatening to sue the city until he gets his hands on a breakdown of the claims.
“The information is getting compiled by the risk management folks, we're going to all go over it together," said Council Auditor Kirk Sherman.
Rutherford doesn't understand why there is a delay in releasing the allocation process.
"It makes absolutely no sense that they can't just forward that over to us today," said Rutherford.
So until the battle between the sheriff and city is resolved, the budget is only temporarily balanced.
"Can you still feel confident calling this a balanced budget if this is still looming?" asked Action News. "Now, that's why I said as of 11:15 Friday September 17. It's balanced, but we still have this workers' comp issue to work through which could result in additional costs," said Crescimbeni.
The city says they will have a breakdown of the workers' comp claims by the next finance committee hearing on September 18. City council members have until the end of the month to pass a balanced budget.