JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Action News is asking city leaders what other sources of revenue they can look at to bring money in to the city.
There's a budget battle in the city of Jacksonville and it's getting nastier by the day. City leaders say they just don't have the money to save jobs and programs across our city. We found out there's more than $80 million in reserve funds. "No you don't want to use that," said City Council President Bill Bishop. "That's the oh my God disaster money."
Bishop knows it's tough to cut jobs, but no one wants to raise property taxes either. So we wanted to know what other revenue is there. "Now, we don't have any other sources," said Bishop.
But Bishop intends to find out. He's setting up a new committee to find ways to bring revenue in to the city. "Outside box thinking. Are there any options," said Bishop.
We asked about adding an income tax on people. Other cities across the country do it. "Income is not allowed under the Florida constitution," said Bishop.
We also learned the city is going to start looking at all its vacant properties to see if they can sell any to generate revenue. One example is the old courthouse.
UNF Political Science Professor Dr. Matthew Corrigan says looking for that extra money isn't easy. "Cities across the country are looking for revenue tax sources. Increasing the bed tax. One city wants to tax soda."
Dr. Corrigan says we could also see more user fees. He listed the new toll road as an example. "Faster lanes if you pay money," said Dr. Corrigan.
But Bishop says the budget crisis isn't going away anytime soon, especially with rising pension and health costs. So for now, they have to look at ways to bring in money. "It's how to make the city sustainable for the long term," said Bishop.
The mayor's budget proposal has to be approved by October 1st.