Jacksonville, FL - By a unanimous vote, Jacksonville’s City Council has approved a measure to find out how many of your tax dollars are tied in city-owned property.
Council has been considering an ordinance that would allocate $150,000 to hire a company to inventory, assess and recommend what to do with all city-owned property. We’ve learned tens of millions of dollars are tied right now in vacant, city-owned land, and this Request for Proposal (RFP) would figure out if and how to change that.
17 councilmembers favored the proposal. Councilman Clay Yarborough and Councilwoman Kimberly Daniels had stepped out of the chambers and did not cast a vote.
There was some discussion on the timeline for getting the project done. The measure was actually tabled for a period of time while more work was done to determine just how quickly council should expect the work to be complete. When that was answered later in the meeting, the vote moved forward.
Just last week, there were still other questions remaining on whether the city was paying the right amount to get this job done, but that was not directly discussed. Councilman John Crescimbeni has been one of the vocal critics of the amount, telling me just last week that if all his questions weren’t answered he wouldn’t support the bill. I asked whether he had, in fact gotten all the information he wanted.
“I’m gunna, you know, accept their word in good faith on that initiative and hope that that’s exactly what happens,” he says.
We were specifically talking about whether the $150,000 price tag should decline following my discovery that more than half the property listed under city ownership- and included in the initial RFP- are actually owned by JEA. Crescimbeni has been promised by the administration that the final RFP will fully acknowledge the different way to treat those properties, and encourage the bids to reflect that.
“Waiting with much anticipation with regard to what those responses will be coming back,” he says.
And for Crescimbeni, it’s more than just waiting. Once the bids become public, he expects council will want to take a look at what companies are offering.
“Based on what we see in that review, we may or could reinsert ourselves in the process,” he says.
The entire project is expected to take up to six months to complete beginning now, when the RFP is in its final stages before hitting the street.