Mayor Curry says fixing Pension debt is his number one priority

Jacksonville police patch

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—Residents on the Northside say the city is not doing enough when it comes to fixing homelessness and crime.

Mayor Lenny Curry made his pitch Monday to a crowd of hundreds and said that fixing the $3 billion pension problem is what’s needed to make all of Jacksonville a better place to live.

A meeting organized to discuss homelessness, crime and employment quickly turned into a plea from Curry about fixing the pension problem in Jacksonville.

“We are on the financial cliff, if we don’t solve it now, there will be some dark days ahead,” said Curry.

Bill Hoff lives in Riverside but thought it was important to attend.

He understands why Curry is making the pension issue a priority, but Hoff believes other issues are important as well, like re-opening the homeless resource center.

“We find money for other projects and we could find the money for this, if he wanted to,” said Huff.

Those same thoughts were echoed by Linda Baker who lives on the Northside.

“I’m not sure he understands that these neighborhoods have good people in it. They pay good taxes and they need to be kept safe,” said Baker.

Curry says the city cant move forward on fixing other issues without first solving in his words, the most important issue, that is taking funds away from other problems.

“Two-hundred-and-eighty million dollars in a billion dollar budget – their property taxes go to paying unfunded pension liabilities. That does nothing for them and their neighborhoods, it does nothing for public service, we can’t hire police officers with that money. We also can’t invest in the basic city services that the government is suppose to provide,” said Curry.

Voters will decide on the mayor’s pension plan in August.