Duval County

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry presents a $1.34 billion budget proposal

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry has revealed his budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year, which includes money for each city department. The budget will be $1.34 billion. This is a decrease from the nearly $1.4 billion of 2019-2020.

Curry said that the budget includes almost $239 million in infrastructure spending for 121 city projects.

Here is a link to the proposed budget. Action News Jax reporter Bridgette Matter and Elizabeth Pace will have more on CBS47/FOX30

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry has revealed his sixth budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year, which includes money for each city department.

The budget will be $1.34 billion, a decrease from the $1.37 billion of 2019-2020. The budget will also include no change in tax rates.

“We need to recognize what a difference a year can make,” Curry said. “When I presented a budget to you last year, every projection indicated we would continue to have record levels of economic growth ahead of us. Now, with the impact of COVID-19, we face a much different set of challenges and possibilities.

JSO & Public Safety

Curry started the budget presentation on public safety initiatives and projects he hopes the budget will bring.

“With this budget, I maintain a top spending priority for public safety. As in past years, this includes men and women who wear the uniforms and protect all of us. For example, we have included funding for renovations to fire stations as well as for brand new stations,” Curry said. “We’re adding important emergency response vehicles and equipment. But this budget also includes prevention and intervention programs like Cure Violence and youth programs like the Kids Hope Alliance.”

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is proposed to receive $484,601,110. This is $3,006,513 more than last year’s $481,594,597 budget. This makes up for 37 percent of the overall proposed budget. 23 patrol officers and three employees were added to Investigations and Homeland Security. Seven corrections positions and 19 other employee positions were cut.

There is also funding set to build two new fire stations and renovations at three. Each fire station will cost $7.5 million to build. Fire Station 64 would be at Bertha and Harts Road and Fire Station 75 would be at I-295 and Wilson Blvd. Fire Station 64 was part of the Capital Improvement Plan for 2012-2016 and will help reduce response times for fire and EMS runs. It is expected to be completed in October 2022. Fire Station 75 is requested to be built because the area around Wilson and I-295 has consistently had high call volume, according to the budget.

“Although this area is within five road miles of existing fire stations, the high number of calls for service in this area places a heavy burden on the surrounding fire stations. All three of the surrounding stations routinely exceed the annual JFRD average run volume of 2,649. In 2019, Station 32 responded to 3,956 runs, Station 31 responded to 4,826 runs, and Station 22 responded to an astonishing 5,423 runs. By placing this fire station in service, the extreme run volumes that the three surrounding fire districts are facing would become more manageable and more importantly, this new station would help reduce response times to this area.”

There is also $1.8 million set aside to build a third Cure Violence building. Cure Violence is an imitative that started in June 2019 to help build bridges between residents, police and the city. Kids Hope Alliance will have a .6 percent increase in their budget this year to help with pension costs and contingencies.

Infrastructure

Curry told the City Council that the budget includes almost $239 million in infrastructure spending for 121 city projects.

Curry said his budget priorities for the upcoming year will be investing in communities where promises have been broken for decades. Over $100 million will be dedicated for projects in Northwest Jacksonville, specifically in council districts 7,8,9 and 10.

Moncrief Road will get $1.4 million beautification project from 34th Street to 45th Street. The Murray Hill Playground will receive $225 thousand and the Baldwin Rail Trail will receive a $1,992,500 in repavements.

The Emerald Trail will also receive over $5 million. The Emerald Trail is a project that will include 34 miles of trails that will connect 16 historic neighborhoods, including Downtown, to each other.

Curry also said he will be dedication $12 million to highway and pedestrian safety, $13 million to sidewalk improvement and $14 million for parks maintenance and repairs. Sidewalks, ramps and curbs will be getting a $10.3 million dollar renovation for ADA compliance.

Mayport Village will also see new developments, according to the proposed budget. There are plans to build a community center for $2.6 million and to redevelop the Mayport Dock for $1.5 million. Hanna Park will also get a proposed new amphitheater for $200,000.

One of the largest projects will be a $20 million capital improvement for UF Health. The

Council Member Projects

Several of the City Council member’s personal initiatives also got funded.

$225,000 two hundred and twenty five thousand dollars for Councilman Aaron Bowman’s initiative of the Goodwell A-STEP program, a program that works with adults to access higher education to elevate earning potential and job security. $200,000 will be dedicated to Councilman Ron Salem’s infant mortality campaign. $200,00 will be prioritized for Councilman Terrance Freeman’s mental health awareness initiative. Councilwoman Randy DeFoor’s initiative of removing derelict vessels will be getting $200,000. $150,000 will be dedicated to business improvement grants in District 8, Councilwoman Ju’Coby Pitman’s district. Finally, $250,000 will be dedicated to human trafficking reduction led by Councilwoman LeAnna Cumber.

5-Year Plan

Curry also released a new five-year plan for October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2025, a plan that will cover a part of another mayor’s term. The Capital Improvement Plan has $1.6 billion set for 270 projects throughout Jacksonville. The plan includes a total of four new fire stations, new sidewalks,a Main Street Bridge Pedestrian Ramp, library replacements, a new 3,000 bed pretrial detention facility, and a new police memorial building.

None of these plans are set, but they are indicative to what Curry wants to see long-term. The full long-term plan can be found here.

City Council’s Turn

Curry’s plan is now in the hands of the City Council. First the City Council Auditor will be working through the budget and then Council members themselves will look and revise the budget where they see fit. The budget will be voted on before the new fiscal year on October 1st.

Hannah Lee

Hannah Lee

Hannah Lee is a General Assignment Reporter for 104.5 WOKV.

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