JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The mayor’s office is at odds with Jacksonville City Council members over how much money still needs to be cut from the budget. Jacksonville’s Chief Financial Officer, Ronnie Belton, announced Thursday that a budget blunder was made and an additional $5 million still needs to be cut to produce a balanced budget. Now, auditors with city council claim the city miscalculated the numbers again. They say an additional $2.2 million needs to be slashed, making the total $7.2 million. Those cuts could mean more jobs on the chopping block.
"What you're seeing in that is that they're talking about the difference we have proposed and what council auditors now making some recommendations so we got some give and take there,” said Belton.
The error occurred when city auditors miscalculated how much the city would receive in state funds.
Belton told Action News that this was a simple glitch that can be fixed without worry. But city council president Bill Bishop has concerns.
"I wouldn't take any of it in a care-free attitude. I mean all of this is very serious,” said Bishop.
It’s now up to the mayor's team to trim the fat before presenting a revised balanced budget to city council at the end of September. Bishop hopes they will cut from the top of city hall and keep public safety services protected.
"I don't want to see more police officers going, I don't want to see fire fighters going and I don't want to see libraries close. I don't want to see a degradation of what I call core city services,” said Bishop.
According to Mayor Brown’s proposed 2012-2013 budget, rising pension costs and plummeting property values caused the city to eliminate about 500 jobs. The mayor’s budget calls for spending $945 million in the general fund. City council members have the final vote on the budget. The city council finance committee will meet every Thursday and Friday now through the September.