Sheriff makes final budget plea
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Sheriff John Rutherford will make his final plea for funds to save officer jobs to City Council Friday morning.
He's asking for access to $10.5 million that his department has saved by cutting back on overtime and administrative costs.
"If they were to allow us to keep $10.5 million of that, I will be able to keep the corrections facility open," Rutherford told Action News, "which is about $4.4 million. And then I'll be able to keep those additional 114 police positions on the street."
Right now, the city's saving account totals $26 million, but after budget cuts City Council Finance Committe Chairman John Crescembeni says there's only about $16 million to work with, and he's not sure giving a large percentage to one department is the right decision.
"Should the Sheriff get 75 percent? Two-thirds of that? I don't know. Personally I don't think that should be the case. I think we should pro-rate those savings among the people that achieved them."
He also wonders if every dollar is being spent wisely.
"I don't necessarily subscribe to the philosophy that the Sheriff is somehow magical and that he spends every dollar 100 percent efficiently. I think he should get the scrutiny everyone else in city government gets."
Action News has learned the Council Auditor's office has recommended that the Sheriff not be given access to his savings. However, the Sheriff still plans to go before the Finance Committee Friday at 9 a.m. He'll be given two hours to make his argument.
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