JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Ahead of City Council’s committee to discuss the Lot J Bill in-depth, for possibly the last time, the UNF Public Opinion Research Lab shows a majority of local voters oppose of the bill and the Mayor’s Office is asking for the council to make a decision.
Last night the Downtown Investment Authority voted to move forward their list of 23 recommendations for the project. The City Council will discuss the DIA comprehensive staff report and the decision made by the DIA board. They will also hear from the Council Auditor on recent agreements to the contracts, and there will be a question and answer portion with the Jaguars, Cordish Companies, the Administration, and other city entities.
Poll Shows More Voters Oppose the Current Proposal
The Public Opinion Research Lab at UNF talked to 644 local registered voters this past week about the project.
54 percent of people said they opposed of the project with 37 percent being strongly opposed. Although more people opposed of the current deal, a large majority supported the idea of a Lot J Referendum. 80 percent of people said they would want to see this brought to the voters.
“Jacksonville voters would like to have a say in these issues, particularly when it concerns such a large price tag,” Michael Binder, the director of the PORL, said.
When asking voters about previous public-private partnerships, like Daily’s Place and the stadium renovations, 49 percent of people said that it failed their expectations. Only six percent of people said that these projects exceeded their expectations.
Something that Binder did note was unusual was that City Council had a higher approval rate at this time than the Mayor’s office.
“City Council having relatively more popularity than the Mayor is somewhat unusual, but recent high-profile issues like the JEA investigation may have gotten people’s attention,” Binder said.
According to this new poll, Mayor Lenny Curry has a 42 percent approval rate, several points down from a similar survey done in June where Curry’s approval was at 45 percent. City Council on the other hand, has a typically higher approval rate of 49 percent.
The full survey and results can be found here.
Mayor’s Office Wants to See City Council Vote
Mayor Lenny Curry told Jacksonville’s Morning News that City Council has had plenty of time to discuss the project, and they need to make a decision.
“The magnitude of these numbers has been in the public sphere for over a year. I introduced an original term sheet over a year ago. While there’s been changes and tweaks to be clear, the magnitude of this investment has always been out there for over a year. Council members that were reelected knew that, council members that were elected for the first time knew that,” Curry said. “So the idea that this is being rushed is in, my view, an event to stall, to not have to take a vote right now. I think it’s time.”
WOKV reached out to Jordan Elsbury, the Chief of Staff for the Administration, said that this project is important to to show the Jaguars that the city is serious about keeping the team here.
“We need to show commitment to the organization, to the NFL and to our own city and fan base that we want to keep the team and we want to do what it takes to be an NFL city,” Elsbury said. “And we feel that right now, maybe we’re not and that there are steps we can take, as the Jaguars have pointed out, through developing our downtown, creating more activity and more residents around the area to make it sustainable.”
In the poll released by UNF, only 33 percent of people said that having an NFL franchise in Jacksonville is very important. 48 percent said that it was somewhat important for Jacksonville to have the team. 20 percent said that it wasn’t important at all.