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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Jul. 22, 201412:00 PM EST

City attorney disputes council's claim that Brown's budget isn't balanced, but says legally it doesn't have to be

by: David Chapman

Since beginning their review of the budget, some City Council members have claimed what Mayor Alvin Brown presented them was not actually balanced.

Some of the main concerns were Brown’s use of reserves to balance the budget and make investments. Another was that the mayor swept the Shipyards settlement money council members set aside.

Some members, led by former President Bill Gulliford, have called for the council to return the budget to Brown, and insist on getting a truly balanced budget in return.

According to an Office of General Counsel opinion issued Tuesday, Brown’s budget is balanced, which his office has contended from the beginning. The opinion was distributed by the mayor's office during the council meeting tonight.

The opinion also says the law requiring a balanced budget is applicable to the final adopted budget – what Brown presented were merely recommendations.

And as for the reserves being used to balance the budget, those are considered “current year revenues” and, again, is only a recommendation.

“The Proposed Budget only sets forth recommendations by the Mayor for City Council’s consideration,” according to the opinion.

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