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Jacksonville Transition Task Force Budget Review: JSO

The Fire and Rescue blog post is here. Now comes the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office budget review.

10:11 a.m.: Pat Ivey and a budget officer represent the JSO here.

10:12 a.m.: Overall revenue in the general fund is only up $300,000.

10:18 a.m.: Red-light camera revenue is not budgeted by city. Apparently the program is “volatile” and “controversial.” There’s a clause in the contract so the city cannot lose money in the agreement. Apparently, revenue will appear this year, but falls short of initial expectations. Sam Mousa: “We want to make sure it’s paying for itself.” Looks like the city will make a couple hundred thousand dollars. Time for the Times-Union to write another “red light cameras save lives” op-ed. Mousa does not know why such “assumed revenues” aren’t forecast.

“There’s a spike in the first couple of months” of cameras, then a tail, says a man from JSO.

10:19 a.m.: On to expenses. Mousa wants to know why Sheriff’s Office budget has gone up by about $2 million. Overtime is a big chunk of it: $1.4 million increase. Finance committee “arbitrarily cut” $1.1 million last year, and an increase in special events is also a hit. Various “extraordinary lapses” also.

10:29 a.m.: Police and Fire Pension Fund contribution actually went down for JSO, in terms of percentage.

10:30 a.m.: Professional services up 30 percent. Promotional exam is an increase every two years, for budget.

10:32 a.m.: Security guard and jailhouse expenses have gone up considerably. Mousa has questions about fund rollover in those contracts. JSO representative says that each contract has its own terms. Mousa: “Looks like there’s some extra money in there.”

10:34 a.m.: Mousa: “I may be wrong but it looks like there’s a million dollars too much in there.”

10:36 a.m.: Rentals, land, and building are up $260,000. Part of it is reclassification of a couple of leases. It’s apparently offset by other reductions.

10:38 a.m.: Vehicle rentals up more than $2 million. JSO saying it needs 700 vehicles for vehicle replacement to keep fleet  “healthy.” Mousa says that wildly exceeds previous estimates made to the Alvin Brown administration.

10:44 a.m.: Pretrial detention facility budget up 63 percent. Maintenance costs, miscellaneous insurance are the two big drivers.

10:47 a.m.: Mousa wants to know why Repairs and Maintenance are up. “So you just moved some monies around there?”

10:52 a.m.: “You’re eating up a pot. You ate a lot of it for overtime, and a lot for elsewhere.”

10:53 a.m.: Discussion of huge increase in software licenses. They need to increase contract by $467,000 next year; part of the enterprise agreement. Microsoft, IRX Reveal, Unisys got hooked up with “promotional pricing” that has lapsed. The city also had an Oracle resource that used to be loaned to JSO that is no longer the case. Mousa wants them to find money in “discretionary” budget. “We’re not mandating anything, just help us where you can.”

10:59 a.m.: Clothing, uniforms, and safety equipment need enhancements. Specifically, Tasers and body-armor equipment. The budget office just “arbitarily made the cut,” according to JSO budget guy. The cut needs to be restored because old body armor is outdated and needs replacement. “We can’t send officers down the street with a Taser that doesn’t work.”

Mousa wants to know why there weren’t meetings on these budgets. They were told to “keep things flat.” They want $199,000 for this.

11:00 a.m.: Money needed to replace broken laptops. JSO budget guy: “I don’t consider [this] to be an enhancement to the budget.” Computer equipment and software.

11:04 a.m.: Information system management line items strike Mousa as an enhancement. This seems to be a new wrinkle for the JSO side.

11:11 a.m.: Looks like server replacement will be an added pressure.

11:13 a.m.: Susie Wiles has entered the room.

11:15 a.m.: COPS program being discussed now. Mousa wonders why cops need cars in Year One. The money still isn’t there in the match to hire the officers right now.

11:19 a.m.: Still discussing the COPS program. “So you’ve got a grant award that hasn’t gone to city council for acceptance? OK.”

11:21 a.m.: Mousa wants a projection of what 40 new police officers would cost the General Fund over the next five years. Based on assumption of 10/1 start, of “what the heck would be each year?” Same for community service officers.

11:25 a.m.: “It’s a matter of priorities. If you’ve only got so much dollars, you replace the worst.” Mousa on vehicle replacement.

11:27 a.m.: Of the JSO fleet, 1,320 vehicles are not slated for replacement. The others include a lot of 2008 vehicles with 150,000 miles. “It’s not safe.” Mousa counters that today’s vehicles are built to go longer. Not the old vehicles that would “crap out on you” at less that 100,000 miles. JSO comes back with assertion that many of the vehicles already have had engine replacements. A lot of JSO pushback on that point. Repairs can cost thousands of dollars on these late-model vehicles because they’re basically worn out.

11:30 a.m.: Mousa: “I haven’t seen a 2007 patrol car recently.” Ivey says there is cannibalization of parts and officers “keeping them clean makes them look newer than they are.”

11:30 a.m.: Mousa: “How did Fleet come up with 260 vehicles for the sheriff?” He doesn’t seem convinced.

11:33 a.m.: Mousa is getting agitated. “Based on the formula, that’s the ones you can replace. They probably agree that you need to replace a thousand.”

11:35 a.m.: Trust funds and 911 funds are source of revenue. Federal forfeiture fund another major one. Committee wants to see recurring revenue projections.

11:37 a.m.: Scene.

11:46 a.m.: Comments from Ivey afterward. He reiterated desire to get back up to 1,750 sworn officers. Also emphasized need for technological investment to keep up with the “criminal element.” The fingerprint system likewise needs upgrade. He thinks the case was made that investment, “especially with certain line items,” is not “enhancement.” He’s optimistic that they will get the money they need for the fleet replacement issues also.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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