This just in from the Mayor's Office. Bad News, but slightly better than expected.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. July 1, 2009 The City of Jacksonville has received the certified 2009 tax roll data from Duval County Property Appraiser Jim Overton. These official numbers indicate a year-over-year drop in property values of approximately $3.5 billion in Duval County.
While still dramatic, this drop in the tax base is slightly smaller than preliminary projections issued by the property appraiser in early June. As a result of these revised numbers, Mayor John Peyton will propose to the Jacksonville City Council a 9.50 millage rate for the upcoming fiscal year, an increase over the current year of 1.02 mills. This increase is estimated to cost the average Duval County homeowner $97 next year.
All budget planning to date has been based upon previous estimates and projections by the property appraiser. The receipt of the certified tax roll allows for final determination of revenue lost to the citys general fund and the setting of the mayors proposed millage rate for fiscal year 2009/2010.
Based on the final numbers, the city has an estimated $170 million budget challenge in the upcoming fiscal year. Of that total, $100 million is driven by Tallahassee-forced property tax reform, $40 million by increased pension costs and $30 million by the global economic collapse.
To address the budget challenge, Mayor Peyton last week called for a three-part plan to move the city forward and ensure continued investment. The three elements are $40 million in budget cuts, an aggressive pension reform plan and a modest property tax increase.
o Budget cuts Mayor Peyton is proposing an additional $40 million in budget cuts in the upcoming fiscal year. This includes a 5 percent reduction in all non-public safety departments operating budgets and the elimination of approximately 100 existing positions. The mayor will also seek to negotiate, at the collective bargaining table, furloughs for all non-public safety employees and zero raises across the board. The city will also continue its hiring freeze, which has been in place since the start of the current fiscal year.
o Pension reform Key elements of pension reform could include modifying the 8.4 percent DROP guarantee, the retirement age and years of service criteria, employee contribution rate, cost of living implementation and other issues. These reforms will be negotiated at the collective bargaining table.
o New revenue Additional budget cuts will dramatically impact Jacksonvilles families and neighborhoods, and will fundamentally erode the quality of life so that business recruitment and job creation will be negatively affected. Mayor Peyton will propose, on Monday, July 13 at 10 a.m. in the city council chambers, a millage rate increase of 1.02 mills. This would put Jacksonvilles property-tax rate back to about where it was three years ago had Tallahassee not intervened in the citys ability to pay for and govern itself.
The mayor encouraged residents to learn more about his budget proposal by visiting www.FixItNow.cc, a Web site created by the Mayors Office.