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Jax City Council Approves Budget

Kevin Meerschaert

After about seventeen hours of deliberation and weeks of committee meetings, the Jacksonville City Council Wednesday night gave final approval to the budget for the upcoming fiscal year. 

The roughly billion dollar spending plan added about $60 million to what Mayor Alvin Brown proposed in July.

The millage rate has been increased to 11.44 mills which is about a 12 percent hike. It will cost the average property owner about an additional $70 on their overall tax bill.    

The council added more funding on Wednesday including money to keep open community centers and public pools and additional maintenance on public right of ways and in Hemming Plaza.

Council President Bill Gulliford called the experience a miserable process and puts most the blame on Mayor Alvin Brown for presenting a budget that was filled with unspecified budget cuts. 

In a statement released shortly after the vote, Mayor Brown said he, "respects the hard work of the city council and city staff on the budget."

It continued, "Mayor Brown will carefully review the council-approved budget to determine whether he will use his line-item veto authority. As always, the mayor’s goals are to protect hard working taxpayers and promote the most efficient and effective delivery of services to residents and businesses."

Kevin Meerschaert has left WJCT for new pursuits. He was the producer of First Coast Connect until October of 2018.