Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry offered a $1.34 billion budget Wednesday that leaves tax rates unchanged and represents nearly status quo spending after a year of extraordinary challenges from the coronavirus pandemic.
“We need to recognize what a difference a year can make,” Curry said, describing this spending plan as the result of “my steadfast commitment to being a responsible steward” of public money.
WJCT News partner The Florida Times-Union reported Curry proposed $240 million in big-ticket capital projects like drainage and roadwork, including about $100 million for projects in four Northside and Westside council districts – 7, 8, 9 and 10 – with a history of unmet needs.
“This is a well-stated budget, on the surface,” Council President Tommy Hazouri told members during a Zoom meeting where questions were asked on line items ranging from fire stations to sex-trafficking.
The budget is barely different from the $1.37 billion general fund budget the city adopted in September.
But in contrast to the bullish financial conditions of 2019, the new spending plan is written for a city where unemployment has risen following lockdown orders during the first months of the pandemic and big-ticket investments in infrastructure and other perennial needs were already on a waiting list.
An expanded version of this story that includes a more detailed look at the mayor’s budget is at Jacksonville.com.