Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gulliford, Mayor at Odds Once More on Shipyards Fund; Outgoing Council President Wants $13M in Council-Controlled Account

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gulliford, Mayor at Odds Once More on Shipyards Fund; Outgoing Council President Wants $13M in Council-Controlled Account

Article excerpt

Byline: David Bauerlein

City Council President Bill Gulliford's tenure as council president will end with one more tug-of-war with Mayor Alvin Brown over the city budget.

This time, it involves legislation filed by Gulliford to shift the $13 million settlement from the failed Shipyards development into an account controlled by the City Council.

The infusion of settlement money has already sparked requests from the Downtown Investment Authority to use it for downtown redevelopment. City Council member Kimberly Daniels filed legislation last week seeking $500,000 for summer youth programs.

Brown hasn't said how he wants to use the money. He is putting together his proposed 2014-15 budget, which he will present to the City Council in mid-July. Gulliford's bill could come up for a vote June 24.

Gulliford said by moving the $13 million into the City Council account, the legislation will ensure all the money goes solely toward catching up on needed capital improvements - a category that covers construction projects such as roads, drainage, and parks. Gulliford said the money shouldn't be used to balance the budget when it comes to day-to-day operating expenses of city government.

"I think it should stand alone for consideration," Gulliford said of the settlement proceeds. "I don't want it to be sucked into the budget calculations for next year. It should be for capital projects, period. This is one-time money."

Brown opposes Gulliford's legislation.

City officials should "obtain final guidance on how the money can be invested, see what next year's budget picture looks like, and then make a wise decision to ensure that taxpayers get the best return on their investment," said Chris Hand, Brown's chief of staff.

Gulliford, whose one-year term as council president ends at the end of June, and Brown have had a running disagreement about budget matters.

Most recently, Gulliford spearheaded legislation extending the 6-cent local gas tax. Extending the gas tax will enable the Jacksonville Transportation Authority to undertake $100 million in road construction, while giving City Hall a recurring source of money for street resurfacing and construction of sidewalks and bike paths. …

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