Special committee dealing with $94 million community benefits agreement lay out the path forward

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — In exactly two weeks legislation addressing the city’s remaining $94 million share of the Community Benefits Agreement originally proposed alongside the Jags stadium renovation deal is expected to be unveiled.


While the Chair and Vice Chair of the special committee tasked with deciding how to spend those dollars may be on opposite ends of the political spectrum, on this issue they seem to be on the same page.

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The committee will start its work later this month.

Councilmember Raul Arias (R-District 11) has been selected to lead the initiative.

“We’re not trying to dismantle or take anything away. We just want to make sure that it’s done correctly,” said Arias.

Arias tapped Councilman Jimmy Peluso (D-District 7) as his Vice Chair.

Peluso, who represents the Eastside, said one of his main goals is to ensure the Eastside gets the $30 million it was promised in the mayor’s original pitch for the Community Benefits Agreement.

He also wants to make sure the money is spent in a way the full council is comfortable with.

RELATED: City Council votes to push back $94M for community benefits agreement from Jags stadium deal

“We just gotta make sure that we know where the funding is going. I think the way that it gets there as well. I don’t know if we’re gonna do a two-year CBA or a three-year CBA. I think we’re going to figure that out too,” said Peluso.

Arias said he’s also committed to fulfilling the promises made to the Eastside.

Along with money for homelessness, affordable housing and workforce development, Arias also said he wants to see funding for small business development make it into the final product.

“I heard from the community saying that they need more access to capital, resources in our community and when I saw the CBA being proposed I didn’t see anything on small business development. So, I said we definitely need to work on this a little bit better,” said Arias.

It’s a discussion Peluso said he’s interested in having, but he hopes the focus on some of the other initiatives isn’t lost in the mix.

RELATED: ‘I tried to stop this:’ Conflict over community benefits in stadium deal comes to a head

“I get it, but we all pretty much campaigned on affordable housing. We all know the homelessness problem we’re about to encounter,” said Peluso.

Arias said he expects the committee to wrap up its work and have a final product passed by the end of August.

By doing so, it will unlock the Jaguars’ remaining $32 million commitment to the total $300 million Community Benefits Agreement.

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