Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mayor Seeks More Arts Funding

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mayor Seeks More Arts Funding

Article excerpt

*********** CORRECTION (7/10/97)

Because of a reporting error, the "Mayor's budget pitch"

box on Page B-1 Tuesday misstated the amount Mayor John

Delaney's proposed budget would increase arts funding next

year. Arts programs would receive an increase of $157,600.

**********

Jacksonville Mayor John Delaney will propose a 1997-98 budget

tonight that calls for slightly trimming the city's property-tax

rate, spending more money on the arts and starting a program to

boost homeownership in historic Springfield.

Much of Delaney's proposed budget mirrors ideas from his past

two spending plans: lowering tax rates, adding police officers

and reducing the number of city employees.

But in presenting the budget to City Council members tonight,

Delaney also will offer a new thrust to improve the city's

housing, particularly in the Springfield area, said Susan Wiles,

deputy chief of staff.

Delaney wants to set aside $1 million in federal funds to help

pay for a homeownership program in part of Springfield and to

make improvements to streetlights and sidewalks in the area

north of downtown.

Overall, Delaney is proposing a $937.6 million budget that

includes a $592.7 million general fund. The general fund, which

pays for many of the city's day-to-day operations, is up from

about $553 million this year -- an increase of 7.2 percent.

Delaney's budget also keeps his 1995 campaign promise to lower

property tax rates every year, though the reductions are slight.

The rate would go from $11.11 per $1,000 in assessed value this

year to $11.01. The owner of a $100,000 home would see taxes

drop $5 to $10 next year, if the value of the home stayed the

same.

The mayor is able to increase spending while also lowering tax

rates, in part, because the city's growth has led to rising

property values.

Also, Wiles said the city will save money next year because of

improvements in its risk-management department.

Much of the proposed budget follows Delaney's themes from past

years. Among other things, it would add 17 police officers to

the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, spend an additional $1

million on the Jacksonville Children's Commission and trim the

number of full-time, non-public safety employees by eight. …

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