Author Topic: Council Votes "NO" on Mayor's Pension deal!  (Read 5828 times)

Cheshire Cat

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Council Votes "NO" on Mayor's Pension deal!
« on: July 23, 2013, 08:32:29 PM »
The City Council voted Mayor Browns pension deal "Down" tonight by a vote of 11 against and 7 for.  We now revert to the old deal with 17 years left and the three associated lawsuits  remain in place.

http://www.metrojacksonville.com/forum/index.php/topic,19075.msg338421/topicseen.html#new
Diane Melendez
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tufsu1

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Re: Council Votes "NO" on Mayor's Pension deal!
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2013, 09:10:23 PM »
and they also voted for a property tax increase

edjax

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Re: Council Votes "NO" on Mayor's Pension deal!
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2013, 09:16:17 PM »
Wise decision on both.

Tacachale

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Re: Council Votes "NO" on Mayor's Pension deal!
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2013, 10:57:42 AM »
Quote
Jacksonville City Council rejects mayor's plan on pensions, leaves open property tax increase
Mayor Alvin Brown's proposal is viewed as shortsighted.

Jacksonville’s City Council rejected the pension legislation Mayor Alvin Brown had championed Tuesday, and left open the door to setting a substantially higher property tax rate.

The choices represented huge blows to Brown, who had trumpeted his pension deal as a tool to save the city $1.2 billion over 30 years and had stressed his pride at not raising taxes.

Brown’s office minimized the loss.

“This is a minor setback,” said Chris Hand, the mayor’s chief of staff, who said Brown would keep working to address the problems the city faces. “His conscience is clear.”


From Steve Patterson at jacksonville.com

http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2013-07-23/story/jacksonville-city-council-rejects-mayors-plan-pensions-leaves-open#ixzz2ZyWIDngt
Do you believe that when the blue jay or another bird sings and the body is trembling, that is a signal that people are coming or something important is about to happen?

Cheshire Cat

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Re: Council Votes "NO" on Mayor's Pension deal!
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2013, 12:07:34 PM »
Quote
Jacksonville City Council rejects mayor's plan on pensions, leaves open property tax increase
Mayor Alvin Brown's proposal is viewed as shortsighted.

Jacksonville’s City Council rejected the pension legislation Mayor Alvin Brown had championed Tuesday, and left open the door to setting a substantially higher property tax rate.

The choices represented huge blows to Brown, who had trumpeted his pension deal as a tool to save the city $1.2 billion over 30 years and had stressed his pride at not raising taxes.

Brown’s office minimized the loss.

“This is a minor setback,” said Chris Hand, the mayor’s chief of staff, who said Brown would keep working to address the problems the city faces. “His conscience is clear.”


From Steve Patterson at jacksonville.com

http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2013-07-23/story/jacksonville-city-council-rejects-mayors-plan-pensions-leaves-open#ixzz2ZyWIDngt

No big deal?  Not quite.  This was supposed to be Brown's crowning achievement while in office.  It is the single most important financial issue facing the city now and in the future.  No big deal indeed!
Diane Melendez
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Cheshire Cat

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Re: Council Votes "NO" on Mayor's Pension deal!
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2013, 12:09:32 PM »
Wise decision on both.
Everyone needs to keep one thing in mind.  The property tax rate increase is "tentative" and if put forward will not make things better for Jacksonville but is rather a stop gap measure to cover this years budget shortfalls.  We are running in place folks or perhaps I should say running in quicksand. 
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John P

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Re: Council Votes "NO" on Mayor's Pension deal!
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2013, 12:25:12 PM »
Please dont tell me this is going to be a long pissing match. What is the next step?

edjax

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Re: Council Votes "NO" on Mayor's Pension deal!
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2013, 12:43:46 PM »
Wise decision on both.
Everyone needs to keep one thing in mind.  The property tax rate increase is "tentative" and if put forward will not make things better for Jacksonville but is rather a stop gap measure to cover this years budget shortfalls.  We are running in place folks or perhaps I should say running in quicksand.

But I would stay this is better than running backwards as we have been doing the past several years with continuous tax cuts just to get elected or reelected. 

Cheshire Cat

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Re: Council Votes "NO" on Mayor's Pension deal!
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2013, 05:29:06 PM »
Wise decision on both.
Everyone needs to keep one thing in mind.  The property tax rate increase is "tentative" and if put forward will not make things better for Jacksonville but is rather a stop gap measure to cover this years budget shortfalls.  We are running in place folks or perhaps I should say running in quicksand.

Diane, you normally do such a great job with research.  Could you show why this is true?
Actually Stephen, this was openly discussed during last nights council meeting repeatedly by council members and the city auditor. Nothing to research here, this was live discussion last night.   They said over and over again that the vote for property tax increase was to shore up the budget if needed should they voted down the pension deal. They set the potential tax raise at a number that will just meet the budget hole if they can't find more money. There is not overage in that property tax amount what-so-ever to do more than keep us where we are.  As it turned out they did vote down the pension deal and will now likely use the property tax hike to fill the gaping void.  Now they claim they will look for additional funding but the where and how remains unknown.  All that happened last night was purely to keep the status quo.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2013, 05:33:03 PM by Cheshire Cat »
Diane Melendez
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Cheshire Cat

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Re: Council Votes "NO" on Mayor's Pension deal!
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2013, 05:31:24 PM »
Wise decision on both.
Everyone needs to keep one thing in mind.  The property tax rate increase is "tentative" and if put forward will not make things better for Jacksonville but is rather a stop gap measure to cover this years budget shortfalls.  We are running in place folks or perhaps I should say running in quicksand.

But I would stay this is better than running backwards as we have been doing the past several years with continuous tax cuts just to get elected or reelected. 
Not much better.  We still have the same dadgum problems to deal with.  Pension remains unresolved with us in debt to the tune of 1.7 Billion for pension payouts and you can bet your sweet bippy, we will be short next budget go round as well by millions of dollars. 
« Last Edit: July 24, 2013, 05:34:07 PM by Cheshire Cat »
Diane Melendez
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Cheshire Cat

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Re: Council Votes "NO" on Mayor's Pension deal!
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2013, 05:36:35 PM »
Kirk Sherman, the city auditor himself when asked repeatedly by various council members what the property tax increase would mean for next years budget.  He told them the tentative tax increase would just meet the hole in the budget left when the pension deal was voted down.  Some of the council members in the discussion were Lee, Crescimbini, Boyer and others.  You not trust me to give the facts anymore Stephen?   lol  You know I watch this stuff like a hawk and believe you me, the mess last night was not easy to follow.

 
Diane Melendez
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Cheshire Cat

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Re: Council Votes "NO" on Mayor's Pension deal!
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2013, 05:50:00 PM »
I was just "messin wif ya" Stephen. :)  I really wish you had been able to blog last night.  There was just so much that needed to be said with your humorous twist on things.  lol  I can honestly say that last evenings council meeting was in it's own right both shocking and disheartening.  I think the secret hope that I held was that this council might serve as a buffer to an inexperienced administration.   Sadly that does not appear to be the case.  Lori Boyer as usual had researched well on her own prior to this meeting and made a good deal of sense, until she let herself get tied up in some thoughts from her review of consolidation and an attempt to tie last nights issues into a dated consolidation plan.  That worried me a bit.  It was also a bit humorous to hear Denise Lee state that since she is being termed out and could not run for office again that she could now speak honestly to the people about property taxes.  Really?  She can be honest if she is not looking to run for office again?  Kind of telling everyone that she wasn't honest before.  The council was in rare form to be sure.
Diane Melendez
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Cheshire Cat

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Re: Council Votes "NO" on Mayor's Pension deal!
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2013, 06:00:45 PM »
Please dont tell me this is going to be a long pissing match. What is the next step?
You said not to tell you but I will.  lol  We are looking at two to three years and perhaps as many as five before the lawsuits attached to the pension deal can be decided.  The mayor's office is saying they will begin negotiating again.  How soon who knows but the council was very clear last night in calling out Mayor Browns deal as an attempt to get himself through to the next election for office two years down the line.  His legislation was simply kicking the can on pensions down the road, leaving a bigger problem to a future mayor and council.  I think it was stated there were something like 27 pages of concerns that the city auditor had with the pension deal.  If Brown could have pushed the deal through he would and make it through the next election, he would be nowhere around when the you know what hit's the fan.  But the taxpayers will be. 
Diane Melendez
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Cheshire Cat

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Re: Council Votes "NO" on Mayor's Pension deal!
« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2013, 06:10:45 PM »
Here you go Stephen and fellow posters and readers.  A bit more info from the Daily Record. 

Quote
DT

by David Chapman, Staff Writer
The chairman of Mayor Alvin Brown's Jacksonville Retirement Reform Task Force calls City Council's rejection of Brown's proposed pension deal "an attack on the Mayor."

Attorney Bill Scheu, appointed by Brown to lead the task force, said in an email to Brown's chief of staff Chris Hand that the legislation's discharge and rejection was an attack on the mayor "rather than an effort to be servant leaders."

Scheu could not be reached for comment this morning.

Scheu sent the email to Hand on Tuesday afternoon as Council President Bill Gulliford discharged the legislation from committee and brought it to vote. Council rejected the deal in a vote of 11 to 7.

The rejection of Brown's proposed pension reform agreement effectively ends the work of the 11-member task force, which the mayor assigned to review the proposed legislation and make recommendations.

The task force met July 10 and had two more meetings scheduled July 31 and Aug. 22.

"Tell them that they should let the process work and let citizens have a chance to give input," Scheu said in the
email to Hand.

Hand initiated the email conversation, informing Scheu of Gulliford's decision to discharge the bill from the committee level for a Tuesday vote and asking if there was a message he could convey to Council.

Council members Reggie Brown, Doyle Carter, Kimberly Daniels, Ray Holt, Warren Jones, Denise Lee and Jim Love supported Brown's legislation. Council member Johnny Gaffney was excused from the meeting.

Brown announced the deal in early May, saying it would save taxpayers $1.2 billion over 30 years, including $45 million in the 2013-14 City budget.

The Jacksonville Civic Council, a group of influential private business and community leaders, reported to the mayor and Gulliford in June that the deal "isn't enough" and recommended Council reject it.

Last week, the JAX Chamber board of directors voted not to endorse the deal.

Council member Greg Anderson, who chairs the finance committee, also served on the task force.

Before several Council members

unsuccessfully tried to appeal Gulliford's discharge decision, Anderson said he wanted to see the citizen-led task force conduct the review.

Gulliford later said he knew Scheu and appreciated the task force's work, but that the issue needed certainty so that the finance committee could review the City budget for approval in time for the fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1.

"I don't feel good (about it), I don't like that aspect one bit," Gulliford said, referring to what the decision meant to the task force.

But he said he "felt strongly" about the decision and it was time for a vote.

Several Council members opposed discharge, saying more time was needed to study the legislation and referred to the work of the pension reform task force.

Other Council members asked to keep the pension proposal as an option for addressing shortfalls in the upcoming budget deliberations.

"I don't think we are ready to vote," Carter said.

Jones also said he wasn't ready to vote about the pension reform proposal and that Council did not have enough information to vote.

The majority disagreed.

"I don't need another commission or study. I know a bad deal when I see a bad deal. This is a bad deal for us," said Council member Richard Clark, calling Brown's proposal a short-term solution.

Council member Bill Bishop said he applauded the effort in crafting the deal but it was not a good, long-term financial decision for the City. Instead, he said the length of the deal for the remaining 17 years was "irresponsible."

Most who voted against the proposal cited its inadequacies in addressing the unfunded pension liability, which is between $1 billion and $2 billion.

Hand said after the vote the mayor's proposal reflected "real reform" and steps to lower the unfunded liability were built in and could have been achieved through real estate sales and transactions, governance and other methods.

He said the rejection likely will send the City and public safety unions back to court where the issue "may be at an impasse."

Hand also said the same night Council rejected a pension deal, it "raised taxes," referring to the tentative millage rates set.

Before the pension vote, Council members set the maximum property tax millage rate to 11.5353 mills for the general services district, 1.5 mills above Brown's proposed 10.0353 mills.

A mill is equal to $1 in tax revenue for every $1,000 in assessed value.

Many Council members said raising the tentative rate offered more options to the finance committee, which could lower the rate during the budget review.

The maximum increase, should Council decide to use it, would raise about $65 million in additional property tax revenue, according to Council Auditor Kirk Sherman.

Sherman said a "very preliminary" budget deficit is between $60 million to $67 million, but is close to the amount the potential millage increase would cover.

Council has until Aug. 4 to set the rate and submit it to the Property Appraiser's Office for the issuance of Truth in Millage notices. Those notices inform property owners of the maximum their property tax rate will be.

Should Council decide to raise the rate after the notices are sent, notices with the new rate must be sent again, costing up to $500,000. Lowering the rate after it is set does not require amended notices.

Brown has indicated he would not raise taxes, but he will not have the chance to veto the tentative rate legislation or let it remain unsigned, which would automatically trigger the "rolled-back" rate of 10.2107 mills.

A legal opinion issued Monday by City General Counsel Cindy Laquidara stated the Council president is authorized to sign the millage legislation into law and the administration will serve in a ministerial role to deliver it to the property appraiser's office.

dchapman@baileypub.[/quote   http://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/showstory.php?Story_id=540079
« Last Edit: July 24, 2013, 06:17:53 PM by Cheshire Cat »
Diane Melendez
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Cheshire Cat

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Re: Council Votes "NO" on Mayor's Pension deal!
« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2013, 11:42:34 PM »
thanks diane.

It sounds like everyone is playing a game of political hot potato, and the spud hasnt quite landed in anyone lap yet
Indeed and someone will get burned.  Let's hope it is not the taxpayers.
Diane Melendez
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