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Jacksonville City Council Considers $2.7M Sheriff's Office Budget Increase

Jacksonville City Hall, St. James Building
Ray Hollister

The Jacksonville City Council Finance Committee considered funding for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Thursday.

Sheriff Mike Williams was on hand to answer council members’ questions.

“We’ve done a lot of work prior to today to prepare you know working with the council and the mayor’s office,” Williams said. “But I think this is the kind of meeting you get when you have a council and a mayor and a sheriff that really do work together every day.”

Mayor Lenny Curry is asking City Council to approve an increase of $2.7 million to hire 40 community service officers and 40 police officers. Fifteen of the new officers would be partially funded with a federal grant that requires a nearly $200,000 city match.

And Sheriff Williams says he expects to hire a total of about 200 officers over the next 20 months. But he says JSO will save money elsewhere. He’s proposing to cut two chief positions and two other positions that will save about $400,000 dollars.

“In terms of saving money for us, we’re always looking at opportunities to reorder, or to get lean where we can,” he said. “We've done that in this budget process in really a short time window. So again we’re always going to continue to do that, and be good stewards of the taxpayer money.”

On Friday the Finance committee will begin with a budget hearing about Jacksonville’s public libraries.

Lindsey Kilbride was WJCT's special projects producer until Aug. 28, 2020. She reported, hosted and produced podcasts like Odd Ball, for which she was honored with a statewide award from the Associated Press, as well as What It's Like. She also produced VOIDCAST, hosted by Void magazine's Matt Shaw, and the ADAPT podcast, hosted by WJCT's Brendan Rivers.