JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Mike Brande was among dozens of people who packed a town hall meeting at an Arlington library on Monday night. He was there to learn about the city budget.
"I think the major concern is that the huge amounts of money associated with personnel leaves you little room to be frugal with services," says Brande, a longtime Arlington resident.
He's talking about employer provided benefits, including insurance, pensions and workers compensation. It was one of the hot topics at the town hall meeting, hosted by City Councilman Clay Yarborough.
Mayor Alvin Brown says the city is obligated to spend more than $150 million on pensions on the coming year. That's a $46 million increase. The mayor's proposed budget also includes more than $68 million in budget cuts. It's the smallest budget in four years. The budget is now in the hands of the city council.
The finance committee will start going through the budget line by line on Thursday morning. Council member Yarborough received a lot of feedback from his constituents at the town hall meeting.
"I think the people tonight have said they want a responsible budget," says Yarborough. "They want the council to address the priorities in the most fiscally responsible way."
A public hearing will be held on the budget on September 11. The final budget is expected a few weeks later.