JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Action News continues to dig deeper into Mayor Brown's latest budget proposal.
The proposed total budget is $945 million dollars. That's the lowest it's been since 2008. To make that happen, the city will cut spending by $68 million dollars.
We've been talking a lot about cuts to the sheriff's office. Now, we're looking at other departments feeling the pinch, one of which is the Jacksonville Journey, the city's anti-crime initiative. It services everyone from at-risk kids, to men and women just getting out of jail.
Facing another deep round of budget cuts, Jacksonville Journey's oversight committee got a surprise visit Thursday from the man asking them to make those cuts, Mayor Alvin Brown.
He told them, "I believe that the Journey is important. We got a great opportunity to improve the quality of life in our city."
However, in five years, the Journey's budget has gone from $30 million dollars to a little more than $8 million. The committee initially offered up $958,000 dollars in cuts. The city came back, wanting $300,000 more.
"Today, what program gets cut?" asked Committee Chairman Curtis Hart.
It's a decision none of them wants to make. On the chopping block are early literacy programs, truancy programs, and a training program for ex-offenders.
Hart said, "Everybody's doing a good job. This is not about what kind of job you're doing. This is just about not having enough money for everybody. And having to find a place to get $300,000."
Thursday was the committee's first meeting since Mayor Brown presented his budget. Mr. Brown has been saying Jacksonville is a city that must live within its means. And right now, everyone must make sacrifices. He said, "It's important that you not only hear the Mayor but see the Mayor, so you'll see me heavily engaged. Because what you do impacts all of us."
The next Jacksonville Journey meeting is August 16th. The Mayor's budget proposal is now in the hands of the City Council, which must have a final budget approved by October 1st.