JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-- The deadline to pass a budget is looming and Action News learned if the budget gridlock between the mayor and city council continue, Jacksonville is looking at its own version of a fiscal cliff.
Mayor Alvin Brown presented his budget on Monday with a $61 million. "Am I correct in saying if we give a budget with an increase, you'll veto it," said Councilman Robin Lumb on Monday. The mayor responded, "absolutely."
It was then a stare down between the mayor and city council over his pledge not to raise taxes. It's lead to gridlock in the city's budget negotiations. "It's a huge problem for the county to not have a budget in place by October 1st," said Councilman John Crescimbeni.
No budget means no money to spend and the state could withhold additional funding. The mayor says one thing could fix the $61 million shortfall in the budget is passing his pension plan for police and fire. But city council isn't so sure just yet. "If we think the administration got it wrong we'll make changes," said Crescimbeni.
Councilman Crescimbeni tells Action News city council is looking strongly at a tax increase to fill some of the deficit. He also says the mayor can't veto the increase, despite Brown's pledge on Monday. Legally, Crescimbeni says the mayor can only veto things the city wants to spend money on. "The mayor can't veto a tax increase. There's no power to do that," said Crescimbeni.
On Action News This Morning, Mayor Brown reiterated his plan not to force people to pay for the pension problem. "I balanced a budget without raising taxes and tapping into the reserve. I don't think we have to raise taxes," said Mayor Brown.
Wednesday morning on our news partner, WOKV, the mayor admitted he couldn't veto the entire budget, as he said on Monday. He can only veto line items for expenses.
City council will vote on whether to enact a tentative tax increase at its meeting next Tuesday. That has to be done before next month so the property appraiser can send notices to taxpayers.