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Curry's Public Safety Budget Passes Council; JSO To Hire 80 New Officers

Sheriff uniform patch
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office via Facebook

More money for infrastructure and for programs to help at-risk young people are among the changes in the newest Jacksonville city budget.  The 19-member City Council passed the new spending plan Monday night.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office force is also growing. The budget also includes money for 40 additional police officers and 40 new community service officers,  priorities for new mayor Lenny Curry.

Curry was all smiles Monday night after the Council’s vote.

"I’m very happy right now. I got my priorities. We’ve funded additional police officers. We’re funding Jacksonville Journey, which will invest in at-risk kids. We’re investing in infrastructure and public works now, which have been neglected for four years,” he said.

Longtime Councilman Bill Gulliford was also pleased overall, but he says the city will need to invest even more in the Jacksonville Journey going forward, or the crime-fighting program won’t work.

“No matter how many cops we put on the street, they aren’t going to solve the overall problem. We have a societal problem that we’re going to have to address more aggressively,” Gulliford said.

But Gulliford says he’s proud of more library funding in the budget. He also sponsored an amendment appropriating $10,000 for the Black Chamber of Commerce.

Another successful amendment by Councilman Tommy Hazouri will take $330,000 from city drainage funding and use it to fund the salaries of 17 fire rescue safety officers who otherwise would have been demoted or cut.