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Sheriff out of options?

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Updated: 7/25/2012 6:55 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- City Council President says he'll meet tomorrow with the sheriff to discuss other funding options.

"Folks, it's a tax increase. I don't care what the sheriff says," says City Councilman John Crescimbeni.

A spirited city council meeting didn't exactly have the outcome Sheriff Rutherford wanted. By the end, his request to rollback property taxes was denied.

We sat down with Council President Bill Bishop today, to learn more about why the council voted the way it did. When it came down to it, he said the decision was simple. "Right now there just really isn't any inclination on out part to raise taxes for anybody if we don't have to," says Bishop.

But Sheriff Rutherford says his department is hurting too. He wants some of his funding restored. The $6.1 million to save police jobs, and another $8 million to keep a minimum security jail open, and to keep Community Service Officers on the street. "Be allowed to keep saving in the budget," says Sheriff Rutherford.

The sheriff says it's the mayor who has put him in this pickle. However, the mayor's office tells Action News it hasn't asked the sheriff to start laying off officers, saying only, "The ultimate goal is to produce the most efficient city government without increasing the burden on hardworking taxpayers."

Action News asks, "The sheriff says listen, I helped saved the city $8 million last year, I want that $8 million back that's in the reserve. Is that even a possibility?"

City Council President Bill Bishop responds, "It's always a possibility. And it's an intriguing idea."

Bishop says the battle's not over yet.  He says there could be other options to explore. After all, the cuts aren't complete without the city council's signature. "We don't want to lose police officers on the street. And so that's why I said that's a very interesting idea to study and I want to find out more about it," says Bishop.  
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