JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A Jacksonville city councilman is shining a spotlight on the sheriff's budget and says something doesn't smell right.
For the past two weeks the sheriff has rallied against the mayor and city hall complaining about budget cuts that could force him to layoff police officers. Action News is being handed documents that reveal some curious spending going on at the JSO.
Councilman John Crescimbeni says the JSO golf carts in the garage at city hall go unused everyday. That's why he was baffled to find out last month the sheriff was approved to buy $54,000 worth of new golf carts. There's more on the sheriff's shopping list.
We obtained documents that prove the sheriff got approval to spend $22,000 on dishwashing machines, more than $13,000 on a freezer and $74,000 on ovens.
Perhaps the most baffling to Councilman Crescimbeni was approval for $30,000 on 15 new bikes. "A two thousand dollar bike. That's problematic to me," said Councilman Crescimbeni.
This is all while the sheriff is publicly lashing out over proposed budget cuts. The sheriff says he'd like to use $6.1 million of savings in the current JSO budget to save jobs in the upcoming year. Crescimbeni says the sheriff wanted to use the same $6.1 million last month. The sheriff claimed to need the money right away. "If we had approved that last month, he would not be able to talk today about anything with that money this month," said Crescimbeni.
Councilman Crescimbeni has his own cost-saving suggestion to the sheriff. Next year, the sheriff will have 700 civilian positions. "If I were the sheriff I'd look at those in terms of layoffs, as opposed to officers," said Crescimbeni.
But the councilman admits, he can't tell the sheriff who or what to cut. "All I can do is give him a number and he can spend it how he wants," said Crescimbeni.
Action News did reach out to the sheriff's office for a comment on this approved spending and whether the items were ever bought. We have not yet received a response.
City Council has to approve the mayor's budget by October 1st.