Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown proposed a budget that doesn't raise taxes, but cuts every department by nearly 14 percent. Brown has remained adamant about not raising taxes, no matter what services have to be cut.
In July, the City Council approved the flexibility to raise the millage rate 1.5 mills to 11.5353. Taxes on a homesteaded house valued at $150,000 would increase by $150. Since then, the Finance Committee has been combing through each line of the budget, deciding where money should be restored.
More than 60 percent of the budget goes to public safety and public works, leaving less money for programs serving the young, the sick, the old, and arts and cultural programs.
In the last five years, Jacksonville has paid lower property taxes than other major Florida cities. In 2012, Orlando, Tampa, Miami and Fort Lauderdale property owners paid 4 percent to 29 percent more in taxes than Jacksonville residents.
Should the City Council pass a tax increase to pay for these services?