Finance Committee approves Peyton’s millage rate in first meeting
by David Chapman
In its first meeting since new Council President Jack Webb appointed members, the Finance Committee passed an emergency resolution of Mayor John Peyton’s proposed 10.12 millage rate.
The emergency approval means the full Council will vote on the measure Aug. 27.
The higher rate, part of Peyton’s plan to plug a $45 million hole in the fiscal 2010-11 budget, would raise the same amount of property tax revenue as last year in light of property value decreases in the county.
Last year, after rejecting Peyton’s proposed 9.5 millage rate and keeping it unchanged at 8.48 mills, Council eventually approved the rate at 9.27 mills.
If the higher rate is approved Tuesday, Property Appraiser Jim Overton can send out Truth in Millage (TRIM) notices with the 10.12 millage rate.
Urban Service Districts 2, 3 and 4 (the Beaches) will have a millage rate of 6.83 and Service District 5 (Baldwin) will have a millage rate of 8.52 under the resolution.
The measure also calls for a public hearing at 5 p.m. Sept. 14 to consider the rate and budget.
The committee consists of council members Daniel Davis, chair, and Warren Jones, vice chair, along with Michael Corrigan, Ronnie Fussell, Ray Holt, Kevin Hyde and Denise Lee. Five are former council presidents.
Webb thanked them in advance for “sacrifice, service and time” on the Finance Committee in difficult budget times. Their decisions will have an impact on the future, he said.
The emergency resolution was the final agenda item of the meeting, with members voting 7-0 in favor.
In other action, the committee:
• Approved an extension of a city contract, through the Tourist Development Council, with Visit Jacksonville for an additional two years. The original contract for the organization to provide professional services was to expire Sept. 30.
• Approved an ordinance that would appropriate a $191,218 continuation grant from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for use in advanced and specialized training for law enforcement and correctional officers and for administrative costs, all part of the Criminal Justice Training Trust Fund. The measure will be voted on Tuesday by the full Council.
• Approved an ordinance that would appropriate $7,762,362 in continuation grant funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant, part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, to assist eligible entities in implementing energy efficient and conservation strategies. The award period began July 27, 2009, and runs through July 26, 2012. It will also be voted on Tuesday by the Council.
• Approved an ordinance appropriating $90,088 for use in the annual “State of the River” report created by Jacksonville University and the University of North Florida. The appropriation comes from the Environmental Protection Fund. The latest report was released last week.