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Jacksonville City Council: More work to do on mayor's budget

by: Catherine Varnum Updated:


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - City council members say there's a lot of work to do on the proposed budget.  

"I'd like to give it back and say 'please balance it properly,'" said Councilman Bill Gulliford.  

City Council is fighting with Mayor Alvin Brown's office over your tax dollars. It has been a week since the budget was proposed and the gloves are off.

"He can do what he wants, and not follow the laws," said Councilman Richard Clark. 

Clark said he's frustrated with the mayor's budget proposal.

"Miscalculation on pension, overstating costs," said Clark. 

Hours before Tuesday night's city council meeting, a shortfall of $37 million was discussed and council members said the mayor was breaking city code by using reserves to balance the budget. Action News obtained the general counsel's legal opinion on whether the mayor can do that.

"The budget does not violate code. The mayor can use reserves legally," said Chief of Staff Chris Hand. 

But the idea of using reserve funds and taking out more debt isn't sitting well with council members.

"Everyone has expectations of getting more. It's going to be difficult to hold on to," said Clark. While the mayor's office admits council still has a lot to go through, council members say by now, the mayor should know how to submit a budget, without major accounting mistakes.

"We look forward to the back and forth to make sure it's a good plan," said Hand. "We'll probably have to change laws that mandate how future mayors present their budget," said Clark. 

Council has until the end of September to vote on the budget.