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Landslide victory for Jacksonville mayor's pension plan

by: Lorena Inclan, Action News Jax Updated:

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - More than 65 percent of primary voters voted “yes” on county referendum 1, extending the half-cent sales tax to pay down the city’s unfunded pension liability.

Mayor Lenny Curry showed a united front surrounded by former sheriff and co-chair for the Yes! for Jacksonville campaign Nat Glover, Sheriff Mike Williams, and several City Council members, Republicans and Democrats alike.

Glover called it a “big night for Jacksonville” and referred to Curry as “courageous” for leading the effort to get the referendum on the ballot and setting off on a city-wide campaign to inform voters about the plan.

With the yes vote the city can begin to pay down the more than $2 billion unfunded pension liability which he said is crippling the city’s budget.

“This has been the albatross around our neck and you know when your budget is crippled and you can't invest in basic infrastructure and public safety and parks and sidewalks; you can't be a world class city. We have now removed that albatross from around our necks,” said Curry.

The next step will be collective bargaining negotiations with the unions. Curry said he hopes to have that resolved before the end of the year.