Up for grabs for city council: nonprofit oversight, $ 30 million for Riverside development, public service agreement

Jacksonville City Council members will vote today on whether to implement stricter rules for funding nonprofits with city money.

Also on the bridge for the meeting is whether taxpayers should contribute $ 30 million to a Riverside development project, and a plan to rezone a closed school in the Northside for affordable housing.

Here’s what to watch out for:

Additional money monitoring for nonprofits

Council members must vote on tougher rules for nonprofits vying for city funds. Organizations should provide additional financial documents and disclose their connections to board members and their family members.

The proposal comes after the board in September donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to nonprofits that board members headed or worked for. The bill passed by two council committees last week and failed a tie vote in one committee.

Council member Reggie Gaffney, whose organization received the largest of these grants, opposed the bill in committee.

“That’s basically what we’ve been doing from the start,” Gaffney said. “It’s basically what the state does, basically what the federal government does, based on what I’ve been told, so at this point I’m not going to support it.

The board had waived bidding rules already in place for some of the funds it distributed to board member organizations in September.

The bill before council today would only apply to city funds, not federal or state grants the city distributes, like the US bailout dollars that council members gave to organizations handpicked last month. The bill’s sponsor, Rory Diamond, says it’s on the bridge for the future if today’s vote is in his favor.

“I’m going to follow that up with another bill that covers state and federal funds, but it’s one step at a time,” Diamond said. “I wanted this to be done. And then I’ll follow up with a state and federal bill, which will be almost exactly the same.”

The proposal is the last item on the council’s agenda.

$ 30 million for the Riverside development

There is also talk for tonight’s meeting whether taxpayers should contribute $ 30 million to subsidize developers’ plans to demolish the old Times-Union building in Riverside and replace it with apartments and stores.

Council will vote on a plan to demolish the old headquarters at 1 Riverside Avenue to build a grocery store, apartment complex and parking garage. The private developers, led by Fuqua Acquisitions, plan to invest $ 163 million in the project.

The city offers to pay about 15% of the development, with a price tag of $ 30 million in taxpayer-funded grants. The plan was adopted unanimously in council committees.

Rezoning of Northside School for affordable housing

Council is also adopting a controversial plan to replace a former Northside elementary school with affordable housing. Lake Forest Elementary School was closed two years ago due to underperformance, and the Duval County School Board has since signed a plan to sell the land to affordable housing developer Ability Housing.

But neighbors categorically fought the plan at city council committee meetings, saying the school district had not got their advice on what to do with the old school. What is happening at Lake Forest Elementary School could be a model for similar projects in other schools the district plans to demolish.

The school district and Ability Housing said they would consider partnering again. The district is set to demolish 44 schools, build 28 new ones and sell a dozen lots using the half-cent sales tax increase approved by voters in Duval last year. .

JEA Agreement on Rural Public Services

The Jacksonville utility struck a last-minute deal with a Ponte Vedra-based developer in a latent dispute that could have led to the privatization of utility over a large portion of Jacksonville’s Westside, according to a Florida Times report. Union.

The developer asked the state to allow it to provide water and sewer services on 7,000 acres of land that is expected to house more than 11,000 homes. JEA said the developer’s move violated its exclusive right to service the area, while the developer said JEA did not have the capacity to service as many new homes.

Under the deal reached on Monday, developers will plan and build facilities to produce and treat water and wastewater in the region. JEA will then purchase these facilities and provide the service to residents.

Jacksonville Today’s Sydney Boles contributed to this report.

About Barbara J. Ross

Check Also

Starrett Corporation Seeks to Sell Two Bridges Development Site

259 Clinton Street (Perkins Eastman / McNamara Salvia) With the legal issue over the plans …