Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry has rolled out an aggressive $131 million spending plan that would put more law enforcement officers on the streets and improve roads and other public infrastructure.
It is part of a $1.2 billion dollar budget for the next fiscal year that Curry presented during the city council meeting on Monday. The Florida Times-Union characterizes it as a “stimulus-style budget” that “represents a windfall the city hasn’t seen since the economy soured late in the last decade.”
Money for Curry’s budget plan comes from a stronger economy, increased property values and savings from a series of employee-pension plan reforms. The proposal is based on maintaining the property tax rate at its current level.
The mayor’s proposed budget calls for the hiring of an additional 100 police officers who Curry says will help reduce the city’s high violent crime rate. It would also add 42 new positions to Jacksonville Fire and Rescue, as well as a backup communications center.
It also calls for spending $12 million dollars on road resurfacing and $8 million to help build new dormitories and a community field at Edwards Waters College.
There is also funding for downtown improvements, including the extension of the Southbank Riverwalk and the demolition of the former county courthouse and city hall annex, which Curry hopes will encourage private development on those properties.
The budget proposal calls for spending tens-of-millions of dollars on a variety of smaller projects ranging from sidewalk construction and road widening, to park improvements.
An additional $10 million would be put away for an emergency, increasing the city’s emergency reserve account to almost $66 million.
The city council will have the final say on a budget plan that will take effect Oct. 1. The council’s finance committee will begin reviewing Curry’s budget proposal next month.