Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Police, Fire Budgets Grow - a Little

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Police, Fire Budgets Grow - a Little

Article excerpt

Byline: MARY KELLI PALKA

The budgets for the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department will likely grow next year, but not as much as public safety officials hoped.

Mayor John Peyton's budget review committee approved a $320 million budget for the Sheriff's Office on Tuesday. That's up 7.4 percent from $298 million this year. The panel also approved a $145 million budget for the Fire and Rescue Department, a 6.6 percent increase from $136 million this year.

Sheriff John Rutherford and Fire Director Dan Kleman had said they needed more money. But Peyton contends that a change last month from the Legislature will reduce the city's property tax revenue. Plus, the city's expenses are outweighing revenue, city officials have said.

What are some of the things the sheriff will lose?

- Funding for 24 police, 76 civilian and six correctional officer positions, according to Peyton's office. Includes only one layoff, which hasn't been announced. The remainder are vacant.

- Three planes and one helicopter, leaving one plane and three helicopters.

- About $130,000 in funding for take-home cars. Civilians would no longer have take-home cars, and officers who live outside Jacksonville will have to park them inside the county line. Eliminates about 180 cars from a take-home fleet of 1,675.

What are some of the things Fire and Rescue will lose?

- Funding for 24 positions, all of them vacant.

- About $150,000 less in overtime for fire operations.

- About $195,000 in operating expenses, including printing supplies and bunker gear.

Did the agencies get anything new?

No. Both agencies asked for money to meet growing public safety demands. Rutherford wanted 50 new correctional officers, 40 new police officers and $3 million in additional overtime. Kleman wanted three new rescue units and increased staffing for engine companies to help improve response times. …

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