JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Sheriff John Rutherford is explaining his proposed budget.
Sheriff John Rutherford says cuts are hitting his department hard. "It's a total of 319 positions."
Some of the positions are already vacant and just won't be filled. His proposed budget cuts 22 million dollars. The sheriff says he has a solution. He's calling for the mayors office to roll back property taxes. "Pay the same bill as last year," said Sheriff Rutherford.
Although you would pay more, Sheriff Rutherford told us over and over it's not a property tax increase. "I'm not asking for a tax increase," said Rutherford.
He wants homeowners to pay the same amount of property taxes as last year, even though their property value has gone down. It sounded like an increase to us. So, we asked again.
"No. It's more about what the community needs. Someone needs to stand up and say what the community needs to hear not what they want to hear," said Sheriff Rutherford.
The mayor isn't on board with the idea, saying it is an increase. The mayor released a statement saying, "I strongly disagree with the Sheriff’s proposal to raise property taxes on hardworking taxpayers. In these very difficult economic times where nearly 38,000 Jacksonville citizens are unemployed, taxpayers cannot afford to bear additional burdens."
But the sheriff says crime will increase and he doesn't want to cut jobs. He says he doesn't have any other choice. "We can't have the same service and less money because we've cut all we can cut," said Sheriff Rutherford.