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Why you should care about the City of Jacksonville's 2014 budget amendments

6:56 PM, Sep 25, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- There are some 40 amendments to the city's proposed budget. Council members have spent hours upon hours going over the budget, approving and defeating proposals. Here are nine of those amendments and what they mean to you.

1) Amendment: $449,641 was approved to be transferred from the Special Council Contingency for the purpose of restoring 8 hours operating time for each Saturday for the Main Library to the Jacksonville Public Library; Restores 8 positions.

Why you should care: Councilman William Bishop said hours have been cut over the years. This will maintain service, especially for what he calls a big library use time, during the weekends. It will also restore 8 positions within the library.

2) Amendment: A proposal for $880,121 was approved for the Jacksonville Journey.

Why you should care: The Jacksonville Journey is an anti-crime initiative that works toward peace and prosperity for people in the city, in the home and on the streets. Money would go toward keeping programs like the juvenile assessment center, ex-offender re-entry, early literacy and summer camp programs running. It would also restore 30,000 part time hours for Mayor Alvin Brown's summer jobs program.

3) Amendment: A proposal to defund the Human Rights Commission of $582,464 was defeated.

What this means for you: Councilman Don Redman said he proposed this because he feels like the commission duplicates its services. The commission offers services for people who have been the victims of housing discrimination, or discrimination based on their sexuality. Others have argued the services are vital. If the overall budget is approved, you'll still be able to use them.

4) Amendment: A transfer of $200,000 was approved for starting a community redevelopment agency for Mayport.

Why you should care: Council President Bill Gulliford said the money would go to hire someone to develop the community redevelopment agency.

He said since the area meets state requirements to be defined as "blighted," this CRA would work to revitalize the Mayport area with commercial and residential development, like riverfront property development. The funds would basically work to make Mayport a destination. We could see the ball start rolling after January 1, 2014.

5) Amendment: $58,711 budgeted for the 2014 Martin Luther King, Jr. breakfast was approved to be used for other MLK events.

Why you should care: The amendment won't change the dollar amount that goes toward MLK events. You'll remember a couple years ago, the parade's future was in question. You could see better quality Martin Luther King Jr. events in the future.

6) Amendment: Moving $550,000 to a new Americans with Disabilities Act project was approved.

Why you should care: Councilwoman Lori Boyer said the city has an agreement with the Federal Government to be more compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. This money will go toward a county-wide sidewalk audit.

Boyer said this will be to see how much it will cost to make improvements to city sidewalks with things like wheelchair ramps at the end of sidewalks. Boyer said there were past issues with the new courthouse not being fully ADA compliant with things like how some doors did not open properly. If the budget is approved, Boyer said the project could begin in early October or November.

7) Amendment: $280,170 to be transferred to Special Services was approved.

Why you should care: If you're a senior citizen living in Duval County and you're a part of the Special Services program, you will be able to get two hot meals per week because the funding restoration was approved.

8) Amendment: A $2.5 million amendment was approved for UF Health.

Why you should care: Councilman Bishop said this is very important because UF Health is the only Level 1 trauma center in the region. He said the money will help keep the hospital here and open for you. There was some concern about the hospital's funding from the city in the past. The money will go toward indigent care which is health services provided for people who are unable to pay.

9) Amendment: A $3 million amendment was approved for capital building maintenance.

Why you should care: Councilman Bishop said this means 8-10 buildings in the city are expected to be repaired. One of them, he said, is the Police Memorial Building downtown, which needs some plumbing and air conditioning work.

Another building is the Fire museum downtown. The curator Wyatt Taylor said there is termite and structural damage along with bad leaks that have to be repaired. Wyatt said the museum is on the National Register of Historic places and that it was destroyed in the fire of 1901. He said the building was rebuilt in 1902 and served as an all-black fire company until 1906. He said the building is a Jacksonville landmark and is on Florida's Black Heritage Trail.

Fore more detailed information about the proposed amendments, click here.

First Coast News

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