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Retirement reform drives upcoming Jacksonville city budget

4:12 PM, Jun 17, 2013   |    comments
Mayor Brown discussed pension reform at Thursday news conference when asked by First Coast News
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Mayor Alvin Brown prefers to use the word "retirement" instead of "pension" when it comes to talking about how changes will drive the city's upcoming spending plans.

"Without retirement reform, we will have almost a 14 percent shortfall," said Brown when questioned about the role of pensions.

"With retirement reform there is a 4 percent deficit and so there is a huge difference between the two," said the mayor, who is preparing his third budget, which will be unveiled in mid July.

The Jacksonville library board just last week voted to propose closing six branches to trim $2.4 million in expenses.

Budget cutting last year ended with reduced hours at many of the 21 branches in the city, with Monday being the lean day when only a handful are open for business.

"It would be nice to just be open when you wanted it to be, go whenever wanted to," said Jennifer Santarone, who is a faithful library patron, along with her family.

On Monday, she took her children to the Maxville branch, which meant a 12-mile drive since her neighborhood branch is closed on Monday.

The city council in July will begin discussions on the city's spending plan, following the Mayor's State of the City address.

The city must adopt a new spending plan by October 1.

Want to weigh in on the Mayor's proposed budget? Here's how:

Mayor Alvin Brown

Bill Gulliford, City Council President

Clay Yarborough, City Council Vice President

Greg Anderson, City Council Finance Committee Chair

First Coast News

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