Budget Debate Continues Today After Jacksonville Council Recesses at 2a.m.
The Jacksonville City Council ended its meeting at 2:15 a.m. after only getting through about half of more than 40 proposed amendments.
They plan to reconvene at 2:00p.m. Wednesday and will continue to debate which services to restore and how much to raise property taxes.
According to Council Auditor Kirk Sherman, the council can only approve about $7 million more in amendments before spending all of the money available from the maximum 1.5 mill tax rate increase. That would raise property taxes about 15%.
The council already approved amendments totaling around $11 million. That included funds to hire new code compliance officers and $2.5 million in additional money for UF Health hospital, formerly known as Shands.
One of the most intense discussions was about whether to restore Saturday hours at the Main Library in downtown Jacksonville. Councilman John Crescimbeni said allowing the closure would send the wrong message.
“I think it’s an interesting commentary on our city to have the main library of a 21 library system to be closed on Saturdays, so I’m going to support the amendment,” he said.
The council approved the $450 thousand amendment to keep the library’s Saturday hours.