JaxPoliticsOnline.com

Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

City Spends Millions It Doesn’t Have

There was an interesting article in Saturday’s Times-Union about the $10 million the City spent to purchase 500 acres that were adjacent to the Trail Ridge Landfill.  The land was purchased from ICI at a cost of $20,000 per acre—$8,000 (or $5,000, depending on which appraisal you use) more than a 2007 appraisal the City obtained on the property.  (Of course, we all are very well aware of what has happened to property values since 2007.  It would be interesting to see what a 2009 appraisal would value that property at.)  While the article discussed the fact that the City appears to have overpaid for the property, it never mentioned the fact that the City paid for the property with money it didn’t have.

That’s right.  When we are in the severe budget crisis we are currently in, the City doesn’t have $10 million laying around to draw from.  So, how did they pay for it?  And, why did they make the purchase?

One of the unmentioned facts about the current cell at Trail Ridge is the flooding issue that the adjacent properties deal with from the pumping of water from the current borrow pit for the landfill.  While the Times-Union article mentions the fact that ICI had never threatened to oppose the permitting of a new cell on the Trail Ridge site, it did not mention that ICI was suing the City of Jacksonville for flooding issues related to the current cell, which is operated by Waste Management.  And, miraculously, just weeks after the City’s option to purchase was recorded in January 2009, ICI dropped their lawsuit.

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Filed under: Jacksonville, Jacksonville City Council, Mayor of Jacksonville, , , ,

Local Favoritism Passes Hurdle

Jacksonville City Councilman Daniel Davis’ bill that would give local companies favoritism in attracting City business has cleared two committees. The bill, previously discussed here, is not without its opposition, however. Council Members Michael Corrigan and Stephen Joost objected to the legislation.

However, Joost called it a “myopic” view of the economy and one that contradicts the stance that City leaders are looking to put Jacksonville on the international economic map through the activity at the port and Cecil Commerce Center.

“If you want this to be an international city, you have to look beyond the borders,” said Joost. “We are in a global economy. This is myopic and protecting local jobs goes against that.”

According to the City’s procurement rules, firms bidding on City jobs are evaluated on a 100-point system using 10 different criteria. Currently, a company headquartered in Jacksonville automatically gets 3-6 out of a possible 10 “proximity” points. Davis’ bill will double that and award nothing to firms that haven’t had an office in Florida for at least the previous 12 months. [Daily Record]

Filed under: Jacksonville, Jacksonville City Council, , , , , , ,

Commercial Vehicle Debate Turns Bad Ass

Today’s Daily Record has an interesting recap of the controversial change to the code that governs commercial vehicles in residential neighborhoods.  As tends to be typical with the City Council, this bill tries to solve a complicated problem with a blanket solution that has angered a lot of people.  As the Record notes,

The point was brought up that all residential districts would be pinned together with this bill, and while it was legal to park a boat trailer on the side or back yard in a residential neighborhood, a lawn mower trailer would be illegal to park in a yard.

Ronnie Fussell rammed this change through, using the basic argument that “Americans drive big cars.”  What boggles the mind is that these aren’t actually cars—they are large trucks, vans and SUV’s.  And yes, you guessed it, they are exactly the type of vehicles that society has been encouraging Americans to forgoe—unless they are essential for their line of work.  In essence, Mr. Fussell justifies the change because Jacksonvillians drive monster trucks and SUV’s that are illegal under the current ordinance.  If that is indeed the case, perhaps Mr. Fussell should consider encouraging Jacksonville residents to scale back and use smaller, more fuel-efficient cars.  It’s a win-win situation for the City.  They take up less space, they pollute less and the end result isn’t a large-scale transfer of wealth to the Middle East.  Unfortunately for the City of Jacksonville; however, Mr. Fussell has demonstrated (once again) that on this issue (and many others), he would rather look like the “cool” politician (as if there is such a thing), than actually demonstrate forward-looking leadership. 

Michael Corrigan’s response takes the cake in this debate; however, with his blast at Bad Ass Coffee.  Mr. Corrigan appears frightened that Bad Ass will now park a delivery van in front of his house and he will be forced to explain the offensive word to his young child.  I’m guessing its safe to assume Mr. Corrigan has never read the Old Testament story of Balaam to his family.  Otherwise, he might actually have to explain what the Biblical word for donkey is.  Mr. Corrigan is apparently unable to understand the correlation between Bad Ass’ mascot and the ancient prophet’s (rather stubborn) mode of transportation.

Filed under: Jacksonville, Jacksonville City Council, , , , , , ,

Just Say No

The Times Union reported on the Waste Management no-bid contract this morning.

Where to begin?

Should I start with Art Shad who is the ONLY Council person to come out of the gate expressing his wholehearted support of the no-bid agreement – “a shining example of what’s good”?

Or should I start with Paul Harden who thinks the no-bid contract “sells itself”?

Or should I start with Waste Management representatives who will be meeting with each of the Council members individually to “ensure the council has all the information…”?

Or should I start with the positives – the Council members who appear to have spines?

IMO, this is a no-brainer decision – JUST SAY NO.  This contract should be put out to bid and I am calling my council representatives to encourage them to do just that.

Here’s a run-down of the various Council members’ current position on the no-bid contract according to the Times Union::

     

CONTACT THE COUNCIL

Filed under: Jacksonville, Jacksonville City Council, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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