Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Budget Still Faces Hurdles Council to Debate Soccer, Springfield

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Budget Still Faces Hurdles Council to Debate Soccer, Springfield

Article excerpt

A soccer complex on Jacksonville's Southside, repairing a leaky

roof at Tree Hill Park and promoting business development in

Springfield are some of the projects the City Council will

consider tonight as it finalizes the city's next budget.

Mayor John Delaney and the council's Finance Committee differ

on how much to spend on those items, which are among the

unfinished business in wrapping up a $612 million general fund

budget for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1.

Delaney is "reasonably satisfied" that the Finance Committee's

review Thursday of $10.45 million in capital projects left his

proposal mostly intact, said Susan Wiles, Delaney's chief of


Asked whether he will ask the council to make any amendments in

areas where the Finance Committee disagreed with his proposals,

Wiles said Delaney "hasn't made up his mind yet."

"Those are things that are still under discussion here," she

said yesterday.

Finance Committee Chairman Denise Lee urged fellow council

members to back the committee's recommendation, saying it is a

"fair compromise" that spreads the money more evenly across the


In a council workshop yesterday, Lee told council President Don

Davis that critics of the committee's recommendation "run to the

press and they run you [Davis] down like a train."

"To me, it's disrespectful," Lee said. "Personally, I'm tired

of it and a lot of other people resent it."

After the workshop, Davis said he received calls from some

residents about the Finance Committee's recommendations. But

Davis said the Delaney administration has not put pressure on

him to oppose the committee.

Davis said he is concerned about whether the city will have

enough money to finish a soccer complex off Hodges Boulevard,

between Atlantic and Beach boulevards.

Delaney sought $1 million for the complex, which the city began

building this year in partnership with the First Coast Soccer

Association. The Finance Committee recommended $500,000 for the

Hodges Boulevard complex and $500,000 for soccer fields to serve

north and west Jacksonville.

Councilman Dick Brown, whose District 3 contains the Hodges

Boulevard soccer park, said he will offer a budget amendment to

take $500,000 from a council reserve fund and add it to the

$500,000 the Finance Committee is recommending for the Hodges

Boulevard soccer complex.

"I just hate to see it stopped dead in the water," he said.

"Even the million dollars won't finish the park, but it will put

it in shape for young people to start playing on it."

But Councilman Terry Wood said the First Coast Soccer

Association was supposed to have obtained more financial support

for the project. "Now it's all back on our shoulders," Wood


The council also will hear a plea tonight from Lucille Cortese,

executive director of Tree Hill, the organization that sought

$175,000 to repair leaky roofs at Tree Hill Park. …

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