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Jax Council Finance committee begins budget deliberations Thursday

On Thursday, the Jacksonville City Council Finance Committee begins seven days of deliberations of the mayor’s budget, meetings that will sprawl out over the next 15 calendar days.

Lenny Curry‘s budget was by and large flat, with enhancements for public safety, and drainage projects in traditionally underserved communities.

The enhancements, as we wrote last month, include:

— The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office will get 40 new police officers and 40 new community service officers.

— There will be $3.5 million earmarked for pension costs, if the referendum to extend the Better Jacksonville Plan tax past 2030 to pay down the $2.7 billion unfunded pension liability does not pass Aug. 30.

— Police and fire also will get a $2.7 million replacement of their end-of-life 911 system. The JSO will get $1.9 million to upgrade its outdated fingerprinting system. And $21.5 million of new money will be earmarked for police and fire vehicles. And there will be money for body cameras in the new budget.

— While fire won’t get the 120 new employees desired, there will at least be a buildout for Fire Station 56, augmented with an expiring $1.5 million grant.

— A couple of other significant enhancements: a new insect control helicopter, because the current ones are old and uninsurable.

— As well, via the $83.3 million capital improvement plan (with $33.8 million in cash), drainage will get money. The breakdown is $6 million for countywide drainage rehab, $6.8 million for the Lower Eastside drainage project, and $2.1 million for the Trout River/Moncrief drainage projects.

— And $11.5 million will be earmarked for the Trail Ridge Landfill expansion and $3 million for Jax Ash Site pollution remediation.

Of course, Curry’s budget is just a suggestion. The council will have final say. And many of the most-high-profile departments will be featured Thursday.

There will be an administration presentation, an overview of the capital improvement plan by the council auditor, and a deep dive into budgets for the sheriff’s office and the fire and rescue departments.

Friday has some interesting action as well, with looks at the public libraries budget, the informational technology division, fleet management, group health and wellness, and the emergency contingency budget likely to be scintillating for all observers.

There will be five more days of budget meetings over the remaining two weeks. will preview those closer to the time they happen.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at

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