The City of Jacksonville delivers a diverse and expansive numberof services, including critical functions that keep our residents safeand our city running. The current economic climate has forced cityoperations at every level to make adjustments. But even in light ofthese tough decisions, city government is looking for ways to serve thepublic most effectively.
A city the size of Jacksonville must meet daily demands that are almost immeasurable. Last year, Jacksonville Fire & Rescue answered more than 113,000 calls for assistance. Almost 75 percent of those calls were for emergency medical attention. With one of the largest park systems of any cityin America, Jacksonville’s Public Works Department maintains 72,054 acres of parks. This isin addition to overseeing the repair of 3,600 miles of roads and 7.4 million square feet of publicbuilding space. Managing operations of this scope effectively requires reliable information.To that end, the city is reaching out to the public in a variety of ways. During the budget planningprocess, we hosted a series of workshops throughout Jacksonville that gave attendees the opportunityto meet with city department leaders and learn about how city finances work. Most importantly, the workshops allowed citizens to communicate their concerns to city decision makers and share theirpriorities for the services the city provides. Additionally, City Council held community meetings throughout Jacksonville where they, too,gathered citizen input on city services and budget priorities. This focused and more interactiveapproach resulted not only in more open communication between citizens and city leaders, but alsoa better budget that reflects the needs and wants of this community.By inviting everyone to play an informed and active role in the shaping of the budget, we wereable to garner an unprecedented amount of input from citizens. This key part of the process allowedus to develop a well-rounded budget that safeguards our city’s future prosperity and delivers theservice priorities that Jacksonville residents trust and deserve.