August 18, 2016

9:00 a.m.


Location: City Council Chamber, City Hall – St. James Building; 117 West Duval Street,

In attendance: Council Members Anna Lopez Brosche (Chair), Greg Anderson, Aaron Bowman, Katrina Brown, Bill Gulliford, Sam Newby, Matt Schellenberg


Also: Council Members Garrett Dennis, Doyle Carter (arr. 10:46); Peggy Sidman and Paige Johnston – Office of General Counsel; Kirk Sherman, Kim Taylor, Brian Parks - Council Auditor’s Office; Katrin MacDonald – Legislative Services Division; Sam Mousa and Ali Korman Shelton – Mayor’s Office; Mike Weinstein and Angela Moyer – Finance and Administration Department


Meeting Convened: 9:02 a.m.


Chairwoman Brosche convened the meeting and the attendees introduced themselves for the record. Ms. Brosche told the committee she and the staff are keeping running lists of both outstanding items and enhancement requests for consideration later in the budget hearing process.


Page references from this point refer to Council Auditor’s Meeting #3 Handout.


Tax Collector


Motion: on p. 3, approve Council Auditor’s recommendation #1 to increase delinquent tax sale collection fees by $90,000 and reduce the transfer from General Fund- GSD by the same amount – approved unanimously.


Motion: on p. 3, approve Council Auditor’s recommendation #2 to increase Convention Development Tax collection fee by $9,165 and the Tourist Development Tax collection fee by $18,239 and reduce the transfer from General Fund- GSD by the same amount – approved unanimously.

Tax Collector Michael Corrigan said that his lapse rate is higher than most other City departments and agencies because of a high turnover rate due to insufficient salaries and a slow hiring process. There is a Sheriff’s Office presence in all Tax Collector offices on a part-time, rotating basis, replacing the former Florida Highway Patrol security presence. He said that the delinquent tax payment fees are declining because more property owners are paying their taxes on time because of improving economic conditions. CFO Mike Weinstein said that the problem of employee turnover due to insufficient salaries is a City-wide issue that the administration recognizes and has addressed with modest improvements here and there, but there are not sufficient budgetary resources to deal with the problem on a wholesale basis. In response to a question, Mr. Corrigan described the Tax Collector’s office locations and leases. He reported that the office’s revenues increased with the state’s forced replacement of all driver’s licenses and will do so again when the state requires replacement of all license plates in the near future.


In response to a question from Chairwoman Brosche, Mr. Corrigan said that the Budget Office, not the Tax Collector, estimates the amount of City business license tax to be collected in the upcoming year. He said that that revenue stream is fairly constant, varying between $7 million and $7.3 million per year. The Planning Department and the Fire Marshall have both been very cooperative in asking businesses they inspect about their business license tax certificate and that has helped inform businesses about their responsibility to have the license. His office has cooperated with City Procurement to check that all businesses on the City’s approved vendor list have paid the business license tax.


Motion: approve the Council Auditor’s recommendation to increase City business license revenue by $345,749 – approved unanimously.


Supervisor of Elections

Mr. Sherman reported that the Supervisor’s budget fluctuates annually based on the number of elections being held. The new fiscal year has only one citywide election – the Presidential election on November. Council Members Gulliford and Anderson said that service on the Election Canvassing Board is a very interesting and enlightening experience. Supervisor Hogan described a recent visit to his office by a delegation from Iraq learning about election security.


Motion: on p. 8, approve the Council Auditor’s recommendation #1 to increase salaries and benefits by $23,089 to pay the Supervisor of Elections’ salary pursuant to the Florida Statute with a negative impact to Special Council Contingency of the same amount – approved unanimously.


Clerk of the Courts

Motion: on p. 11, approve Council Auditor’s recommendation to increase the Transfer from General Fund-GSD by $39,642 and correspondingly increase the Building Cost Allowance-Courthouse within the Court Cost Courthouse Trust Fund – approved unanimously.


Mr. Sherman explained a table on p. 14 which recasts the formerly separate budgeting of the Legal Aid, Duval County Law Library, Juvenile Drug Court and Judicial Support court cost fees into a single budget.


In response to a question from Council Member Bowman about an increase in court facility maintenance costs from Public Buildings, CAO Sam Mousa said the Finance Committee will see increases and decreases in building maintenance fees throughout the budget due to a new method of calculating the charges.


Chuck Patterson of the Court Administration Office explained the department’s request for an additional $80,000 allocation from the department’s fund balance for professional services for the Court Application Processing System (CAPS)


Motion: on pp. 22-23, approve the Court Administration request to increase the transfer from fund balance by $63,164 and decrease cash carryover by a like amount to increase professional services for the CAPS system – approved unanimously.


Mr. Patterson and Court Administrator Joe Stelma explained the need for additional funding for attorneys to deal with court-imposed mandates regarding post-conviction case processing and the upcoming mandate for additional attorney services that will result from a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling regarding additional scrutiny to be applied to death penalty cases. The office needs to hire specially qualified outside attorneys to supplement current staff to provide these additional services to meet the court mandates. The office requested a $450,000 transfer from the court’s cash carryover (the Chief Judge is considering how these funds will be allocated) and an additional allocation of $50,919 of City funding. The request for $50,919 will be placed on the enhancements request list for consideration at the end of the budget process.


Public Defender

Motion: on p. 25, approve Auditor’s recommendation to decrease building cost allocation for the Courthouse by $16,160 – approved unanimously.


Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department

Motion: on p. 31, approve Auditor’s recommendation to add a provision in the budget ordinance establishing the department’s proposed new Bike/Pedestrian Annual Pass Fee for Huguenot Park; budget $110 in new revenue – approved unanimously.


In response to a question, CFO Mike Weinstein said that the negative cash balance in the Huguenot Park Trust Fund is an ongoing issue and this budget does not propose a resolution. Mr. Sherman noted that the Huguenot Park budget has been balanced for a number of years via transfers from the Hanna Park Trust Fund and the General Fund and recommended that the Council consider if this is an acceptable situation or not. There are several other funds in other areas that run persistent deficits. Daryl Joseph, Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Services said that fees were raised at Huguenot Park several years ago to make them comparable to Hanna Park and the nearby state parks and said that there is a limit to how much fees can be raised before attendance is negatively affected. He also noted that attendance is negatively affected by the occasional closing of the roadway due to erosion from high tides. The ultimate solution is to make the park more attractive through the addition of amenities such as the return of a store concessionaire (at no rent) and additional park facilities. Sam Mousa noted that many City facilities require subsidies because they are important community amenities that just don’t produce enough revenue to operate at a break-even level. In response to a question from Council Member Anderson, Mr. Mousa explained the new Information Technologies overhead allocation rate that has caused increased IT billings to some departments and less to others. Parks and Recreation will see an increased charge this year because of a new computer system that provides increased customer services, including on-line reservation capability for facilities such as picnic pavilions.


The committee asked Mr. Joseph about how the park system publicizes and markets its parks. Council Member Gulliford suggested the need for transportation improvements to the beach parks and Council Member Dennis suggested increased swimming training and then trips for those swimmers to the beach parks.


Motion: on p. 33, approve Auditor’s recommendation to add a provision in the budget ordinance establishing the department’s proposed new Bike/Pedestrian Annual Pass Fee for Huguenot Park; budget $55 in new revenue – approved unanimously


In response to a question from Council Member Gulliford, Council Member Carter said that the Equestrian Center has had a great year of operations and revenues are up substantially. New events are being attracted that the City has never been able to attract to the facility before and the future of the facility looks bright. Facility improvements have been made with private in-kind and financial donations. In response to a question from Council Member Anderson, Mr. Sherman reported that the Taye Brown Trust Fund generates approximately $183,000 in annual revenue and has a current fund balance of just over $1 million. About $400,000 is transferred to the Equestrian Center budget annually from the Taye Brown Trust Fund. Sam Mousa said that he has met with the group now operating the Equestrian Center and is impressed with their business acumen and their success in reducing the annual City subsidy amount. He noted that there is a project in this year’s CIP to cover one of the outdoor rings at the Equestrian Center to increase its use and revenue opportunities. In response to a question from Council Member Bowman, Daryl Joseph agreed to provide information about the City’s responsibilities for maintaining and operating the golf course, gym and other facilities at Cecil Commerce Center.


In response to a question from Council Member Anderson, Mr. Joseph described his department’s on-going effort to assess and evaluate every park for its condition, maintenance needs and capital improvement needs and to generate a cost estimate for desirable improvements. There will be some discussion of the early findings at the upcoming CIP budget hearing. Council Member Gulliford suggested that another regional park be considered for the southeast region of the city, especially with the expected explosion of growth in the State Road 9B corridor. Mr. Joseph said that in the short term they are working with Duval County Schools on joint use agreements for public access to school properties and in the long term are looking to have land donated by developers in the southeast area. Mr. Joseph responded to a question from Council Member Katrina Brown about parks that are operated under license agreements with private organizations.


Planning and Development Department

In response to a question from Council Member Gulliford, Planning and Development Director Bill Killingsworth stated that the City’s development review fees are comparable to neighboring jurisdictions and that last year the City Council began allocating $500 from the mobility fee to operational costs of the Concurrency Management Office with the rest going to capital improvements.


Motion: on p. 51, approve Auditor’s recommendation that the $152,274 in salary and benefits lapse assigned to the Building Inspection Fund be reallocated to Building Inspections ($110,258), Development Services ($39,963) and Fire and Rescue Department ($2,053) – approved unanimously.


In response to a question from Council Member Anderson, Mr. Mousa described the restoration of the Transportation Planning Division under the new administration from an unfunded, unstaffed, paper division in the previous administration and stated that the division could use additional resources to perform its functions at a higher level. The Concurrency Management Fee could be a funding source for that, but then the Concurrency Management Office would need an alternative funding source as well. Mr. Mousa said that the administration hopes to be able to make a recommendation at next week’s CIP meeting to allocate $19 million in fair share funds to road projects. Mr. Anderson urged the Council and administration to make efforts to “get ahead of the curve” in meeting the City’s transportation needs, stating that traffic backups are building up in various parts of the city, particularly in newly developing areas that didn’t exist just a few years ago. Council Member Carter, one of City Council’s representatives on the North Florida Transportation Planning Organization, said that the Transportation Planning Division is doing a fine job of interfacing with the TPO and helping Jacksonville get its fair share of federal funds again. He urged Mr. Mousa and the Council to be aware of the need to raise salaries to keep the good staff that have been hired, noting that the City has started to lose those good, qualified people to private employers paying better salaries.


Public Comment

Ysryl urged the committee to fund funding for job training and development for young people, especially young black males who are at greatest risk of being arrested for committing crimes because they



Pending items

·        Court Administration request for a $50,919 enhancement for professional services and other expenses related to hiring additional contract attorneys for mandated procedural reviews.

·        Permissible uses of the $450,000 fund balance in the $65 court cost fee account.


The Special Council Contingency fund currently stands at $1,699,190 to the positive.



Meeting adjourned:  11:43 a.m.


Minutes: Jeff Clements, Council Research

8.19.16     Posted 8:00 a.m.

Tapes:  Finance Budget Hearing #3 – LSD


Materials: Council Auditor’s Budget Meeting #3 handout - LSD