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Gulliford Opposes Mayor Brown's Latest Pension Proposal

City of Jacksonville

Jacksonville City Council President Bill Gulliford says Mayor Alvin Brown’s proposal to have JEA pay an additional $40 million a year in pension costs is not a viable option.Gulliford says there needs to be a better option to pay city’s pension obligation.

Gulliford was reacting to the proposal Brown unveiled this week that the mayor says would save over $2.75 billion dollars over 35 years. But nothing has been finalized with JEA. He said JEA would never be able to pay the additional $40 million without cutting services or raising rates.

"I went on a rating agency trip in December with them, listened to the bonding agency discussions and questions and I'm a little bit familiar with their finances and it's just not there," he said.

Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford said it's not practical to expect to pay-off the city’s pension obligation without coming up with additional revenue.

"For 13 years we rolled back the millage rate," he said. "Every one of those years we took money out of the pension excess reserves because the pension was making more than the assumed rate and that was going into an account that city took and spent."

Officials with JEA are scheduled to meet with City Council members next week.

You can follow Kevin Meerschaert on Twitter @KMeerschaertJax.