JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Right this minute, the Jacksonville City Council is deciding whether to raise your property taxes to cover a multi-million dollar budget deficit.
It's a deficit the Mayor's Office says can be greatly reduced with the passage of his retirement reform plan. Without it, the city is looking at cuts to every city department, including police, fire, public libraries, and animal control.
The City Council has three options. It can choose to keep the millage rate the same. It can choose a slightly higher rate... known as the "rollback." Or it can propose an even higher increase.
Councilman Matt Schellenberg says he'll fight an increase of any kind. "The problem is not the revenue, as I see it," he said. "The problem is the expense side. And most directly, it's the pension."
Schellenberg says the city's pension expense has ballooned in recent years. "The pension has gone from under $100 million to almost double that in two and half years."
As a result, the city's in a financial squeeze that could hit you right in your wallet. Here's how the numbers break down.
The average price of a home in Jacksonville is $158,000.
The current millage rate is $10.03 per $1000 dollars of assessed taxable value of your home.
So you would about $1584.74 in property taxes.
That so-called "rollback option" is $10.21.
So you'd pay $1613.18.
That's $28.44 more per year.
With 17,000 local homes in foreclosure, Schellenberg says any increase is too much. He'll be one of the city councilmen voting against it.
"These are people that can't afford to pay their mortgage, much less the tax, the real estate taxes," said Schellenberg.
Brown cannot veto the City Council's decision.
We'll let you know as soon as the vote is final.