JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-- Sheriff John Rutherford says raising taxes would help the city's budget problems and prevent hundreds of layoffs at JSO. But it's putting him at odds with Mayor Alvin Brown.
City leaders are asking all departments to take big cuts to help close a $64 million gap. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office was asked to cut nearly $30 million. "Twenty-nine million will result in hundreds of police and corrections gone," said Sheriff John Rutherford.
The Sheriff says he won't do it. He says he can't because your safety would be at risk. "I think there are ways to avoid it," said the Sheriff.
One way is to raise taxes. The sheriff says he's on board with that. "I think if people understood public safety was at risk," said Sheriff Rutherford. The sheriff also says these cuts could be avoided if the proposed police and fire pension fund was approved by city council.
Mayor Alvin Brown pledged to give a balanced budget without raising taxes. Instead, it forces departments to cut big including closing libraries, fire stations and cutting jobs. "Mayor Brown will not propose a tax increase," said Spokesman David Decamp.
One thing that could turn all this around is if city council approves the multi million dollar police and fire pension fund agreement. But Jacksonville City Council members have concerns. They've hired their own attorney to look at it.
Wednesday, local business leaders told the Mayor's Pension Task Force that the pension plan isn't a good idea for the City. The mayor's office disagrees. "He doesn't think people should pay the burden for this situation," said Decamp.
Action News has learned there could be at least 120 positions cut in the city. They're also looking at furloughs. The mayor is scheduled to present his budget to city council on Monday. It has to be approved by the end of September.