JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Council members are digging into the details of the proposed $953 million city budget.
"I think we are in serious problems, both on the revenue side and the expense side," said Councilman Matt Schellenberg.
Action News has learned the shortfall is likely bigger than initially expected. The budget hole may be as large as $65 million now, according to Finance Chair Greg Anderson.
Inside the council auditor's review, Action News discovered six recommendations that, if passed, would put the special council contingency account at a negative $5.3 million.
The special council contingency account is a fluctuating account that could determine how much homeowners pay in property taxes.
The account tracks how much surplus or deficit there is based on council's actions.
"Whatever the negative number is, it will be equated into the millage rate and will adjust accordingly," said councilman John Crescimbeni.
Action News has learned the special contingency account is only used during budget negotiations.
City Council tentatively approved a property tax increase of 1.5 mills. That equates to an additional $80 on a house worth $150,000.
"If $30 million and a 1.5 tentative millage increase generates $65 million, then only half of the millage increase," said Crescimbeni.
Which would put a family out an extra $40 instead of $80 on a house worth $150,000.
But Crescimbeni says the account will likely end in the red.
"If negative $60 million, then will need the whole 1.5 millage rate," said Crescimbeni.
Adjusting the millage rate is just one option. If the account is in the negative, council members can make further cuts.
Mayor Alvin Brown's budget, as it stands now, calls for cutting 131 positions; 77 of those are currently filled.