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Jacksonville City Council unanimously approves mayor's pension plan

by: Larry Spruill, Action News Jax Updated:

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It’s been years since city employees, including firefighters and police officers have received a raise. That could soon change.

The Jacksonville City Council on Wednesday voted 16-0 in favor of Mayor Lenny Curry’s pension plan, which voters agreed on in November.

Councilman and former mayor Tommy Hazouri says the plan can help the city of Jacksonville with some major projects.

In November, voters approved the extension of a half-cent sales tax, which could help in getting these projects done.

“We can start saving some money and start paying down on the $2.8 billion unfunded liability, which is extremely important,” Hazouri said. "We have to do a lot of infrastructure. We need to do the shipyards, we need to talk about dredging, we need to talk about a number of issues -- big ticket items."

Big ticket items, Hazouri says, have been a long time coming, but there is one issue many feel should be addressed now.

“Firefighters, police officers and most city employees have gone almost nine years with no raises," Randy Wyse with the Jacksonville Firefighter Union said. "We been through three different mayors with this. We’re starting to see firefighters leaving and going to other places to work. Police officers have been seeing that for many years. We hope the raises will actually slow that down, and put to rest a lot of uncertainty."

The council is expected to take a final vote on the plan Monday.

If passed, Wyse says firefighters, police officers, and city employees will get an immediate bonus payment and another raise on Oct. 1.