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Budget cuts threaten jobs at JSO, Sheriff vows to fight

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Updated: 7/11/2013 11:31 am
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Sheriff John Rutherford is speaking out about the potential for massive cuts to his department.

Mayor Alvin Brown asked all city agencies, including the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, to submit a budget that calls for a 14% reduction in controllable operating costs. Those costs include areas like payroll and equipment and maintenance. It would not cut from pension or healthcare costs.

The budget for JSO was originally marked at $366 million but ballooned to about $390 million due to increasing pension and healthcare costs, according to a City of Jacksonville spokesman.

Action News has learned, to maintain a 14% cut in the Sheriff’s department, he would need to slash about $29 million. Sheriff John Rutherford tells Action News that it won’t happen.

"A $29 million cut would result in the layoff of hundreds of police officers and correctional officers and that would violate my constitutional obligations to provide public safety for the city," said Rutherford.

Rutherford says he will fight the Mayor’s administration when it comes to across the board cuts.

Rutherford is calling for city council members to pass Mayor Brown’s pension reform plan. He says it will help fill the budget hole for next year and will help alleviate the threat of cuts to JSO.

The president of Jacksonville’s city council doesn’t believe JSO should face the same budget cuts as other agencies.

"You prioritize,” said Bill Gulliford. “What's the most important? My idea is public safety, public works and then you go down right on the list according to the importance to the communities."

A JSO spokesperson sent Action News its latest budget proposal sent to the Mayor’s office Tuesday. It compares department costs in a line-by-line comparison of the city vs. JSO’s evaluation of next year’s expenses. It doesn’t include revenues or reductions.

As of Wednesday, JSO predicts it will spend about $1.7 million less than what the city expected.

Local minister, James Durden, says any type of reduction within the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office would be devastating for the public’s safety.

“It would be drastic because of their presence,” said Durden. “It's a big help to the community and without their presence, crime is everywhere.”

Mayor Alvin Brown will present his budget to the Jacksonville City Council on Monday.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Action News Jacksonville

makelkami - 7/11/2013 8:21 PM
0 Votes
I also think we NEED our police department---find another way to cut taxes.They put their lives ahead of our to protect us and Jacksonville Has so much crime!!Who else is going to protect us??No-one!

doug1 - 7/11/2013 7:51 PM
0 Votes
save money? STOP TAKING HOME MY CARS. those are our[the taxpayers] cars. they should drive their own cars and buy their gas. also, they should pay more insurance and new officers should get a 401k so they pay in too. and no pension until 65 like all other jobs.doug1.

1country - 7/11/2013 3:48 PM
0 Votes
Three in just a few days? Now lets see,how many in a year do they catch? Take away the take home cars! Budget problem solved!!

Leo25 - 7/10/2013 8:00 PM
1 Vote
This is a joke right!!!!!!! This city is going to hell in a hand basket and they want cut JSO's budget.....they just friggin caught THREE did you here THREE MURDERERS in a few days of their crimes this weekend. Mayor Brown, cut your trips on our tax dollars and find another way to cut taxes, your city is a cess pool and you need your police.......WAKE UP....Rutherford you need to tell them right where to go.......let one of them be the victim of a crime and they wll want one of you guys pronto....oooooppps I meant ALL of you ....
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