After Jacksonville’s Downtown Investment Authority passes a resolution urging City Council to keep its money intact, some councilmen who voted to reclaim the money remain unconvinced.
“The DIA and I are on the same page that Downtown needs to get going, but we are not on the same page on allocation of money,” says Councilman Matt Schellenberg.
He tells WOKV many of the projects the DIA has said it wants to use the money for, like the Laura Street Trio, may in fact deserve city funding- but the channels for that are already in the works without the agency.
“They haven’t demonstrated to me that they have the capabilities of spending the money wisely,” he says.
Schellenberg says he has met with reps from the trio project and indicated his willingness to consider city funding. He’s also met with DIA members and told them he will not support their request for an increased staff budget. He says downtown is turning around without the help of the DIA so far.
“People came to realize it’s a good place to be with or without the DIA,” he says.
The DIA was given $9 million in a trust after the city refinanced bonds. $2 million was also set aside for county-wide development. The Finance Committee voted to move that money back in to funds that can instead be used to help balance the budget- a move the DIA says would all but cripple them.
The agency passed a resolution Wednesday night outlining some of the projects at hand and urging council to keep the $9 million intact.
Schellenberg says that’s not enough to convince him to reconsider.