Last night, the Jacksonville City Council approved my budget for the City of Jacksonville with an overwhelming majority. This morning, I met with members of the Riverside Rotary Club to discuss my budget and priorities for Jacksonville in the next four years.
This was my fifth budget, and like those in the past it reflects the core principles and key priorities that have guided me as mayor since taking office. It is a balanced budget that makes strategic investments in the future of our city, without raising taxes. It continues our promise to reduce City debt, contributing to the $376 million we’ve paid down since July of 2015. And it maintains the reserves and contingencies that demonstrate we can sustain any unforeseen challenges.
Our General Fund budget for this fiscal year will be $1.374 billion. Through the local economic growth and development, our tax revenues have increased in comparison to last year. This has allowed for increases in resources allocated to many areas, including a $70 million increase for public safety to continue to address the needs of our community.
This budget, and the investments within it are made possible because of the steps we took years ago to address our long-standing pension crisis. Because of the actions we took in collaboration with City Council, the Governor, State Legislature, labor representatives and voters, we released the constraints on City finances caused by our unfunded pension liabilities. This year, our pension reform efforts have bolstered City reserves with an additional $64 million.
I am appreciative of the hardworking City employees that put this budget together and my colleagues on the Council for their collaboration throughout this process.
I look forward to putting this budget into action for the people of Jacksonville on October 1.