Brown decides not to use veto power
The budget is done.
Mayor Alvin Brown chose not to use his line-item veto power on the budget City Council approved last week, instead delivering it back without his signature along with his concerns.
"In order to focus on ways that we can work together to improve our community, I have decided not to exercise my line-item veto authority," Brown said in the brief correspondence to council President Bill Gulliford.
Brown's letter also said he wanted to work with council on several goals, including finding a pension solution through the Jacksonville Retirement Task Force, attracting companies by working with the JAX Chamber, revitalizing Downtown, protecting military services and enhancing the educational system.
Council last week passed a budget that included a 14 percent property tax increase to much of Duval County, a move Brown has long opposed
Council members and others said the action was the result of a poorly constructed budget from Brown.
The almost $61 million in revenue from the millage increase was used to restore programs and services.
A mayor cannot veto a millage increase or an overall budget that includes one, but can use the line-item veto power to strike individual budget components. Such vetoes can be overridden by a council simple majority vote.
Gulliford said any vetoed item had a constituency with which Brown would have had to answer.
"Good judgment and sense prevailed and we just moved on," Gulliford said Monday. "I'm glad we didn't have to go through that … I think that was a very prudent decision on his part."
Council member Bill Bishop said he wasn't surprised by the decision.
"This is the council's budget in a sense," Bishop said. "If anything had been vetoed, I think there was definite consensus to override it and I think he (Brown) probably knew that."