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JSO Money in Question After Potential Budget Cut Error

10:32 PM, Sep 13, 2011   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A possible mistake by a City Council committee will result in a dire public safety problem, according to Sheriff John Rutherford.

"That's not cutting to the bone. That's cutting through the bone, and that's what concerns me," said Sheriff John Rutherford.

Rutherford said he planned to cut his department's budget $16.5 million this year, and said he and Mayor Alvin Brown agreed on where $4.4 million of that should be cut.

But two weeks ago, Rutherford claims the City Council Finance Committee recommended another $4.4 million in cuts, bringing the total to nearly $21 million.

"I think some of the members on that committee thought they were just taking out the $4.4 million that the mayor already took out," he said.

Finance Committee member Bill Bishop said the cut was intentional.

"No, there was no error made. We did what we intended to do," said Bishop.  

The Sheriff insists there was confusion over the numbers, and he's making it his job over the next two weeks to convince council members that JSO needs that extra $4.4 million.

"I'm going to be meeting with a bunch of councilmen and trying to make my point that this city cannot afford those kind of cuts to public safety," said Rutherford.

But council members argue the city can't afford to give it back.

"Whether or not an error was made, I don't know that that's the question. Right now we have a balanced budget," said Council President Stephen Joost.

The final budget will be presented at the Sept. 27 council meeting.



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