JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Mayor Donna Deegan has laid out how she wants to spend most of the $25 million that had been set aside by the city council to help fund her top initiatives.
Deegan’s spending request totals $24.2 million and covers eight main topline categories.
The proposal includes $5.8 million for youth programs focused on literacy, civic engagement, and employment.
There’s also $4.7 million for housing and home ownership assistance and $3.6 million to both pull people out of homelessness and prevent people from slipping into homelessness.
The spending asks arose from the work of Deegan’s transition committees.
“This is not money for studies. No studies. This is money for action. Actionable items that will actually directly affect and help our people,” said Councilmember Matt Carlucci (R-Group 4 At-Large).
Carlucci was the first to ask to cosponsor the funding request and noted many of the initiatives focus on areas that have been long ignored by the city government.
“Sometimes we do programs that just affect one or two pieces of the puzzle, but this one seems to be affecting all the pieces of the puzzle. That’s what excites me,” said Carlucci.
Council President Ron Salem (R-Group 2 At-Large) said he was particularly happy to see $5.7 million included for various healthcare programs.
“The stuff towards infant mortality I’m very supportive of. The Telehealth component I’m very interested in,” said Salem.
Salem added council will have to drill down on what requests will be one-time expenses, versus reoccurring dollars, as a significant portion of the $25 million pot comes from leftover American Rescue Plan funding.
“For example, putting Wi-Fi in the parks. I assume that’s a one-time expense. I understand that, but there are others here that I think might not be one-time expenses. So, we need to be able to, in my mind, separate those from the others so we know what may be rolling into the 24-25 budget,” said Salem.
Salem said he expects a final vote on the mayor’s spending request could come as early as mid-December, with the funding starting to go out after the New Year.
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