Tuesday morning saw the Jacksonville City Council Neighborhoods, Community Investments, and Services committee greenlight a bill that frustrated it in December.
The bill would increase city-imposed ticket surcharges for the Veterans Memorial Arena, the Baseball Grounds of Jax, and the Times Union Center for the Performing Arts, while adding surcharges for events at the under construction amphitheater and flex field at the stadium.
The arena and T-U center would cost $1 more per person per ticket; a baseball game, meanwhile, would be $.50 more per ticket.
The express purpose of the new money: funding infrastructure repair and improvement. These are salient concerns in light of decisions by the last two mayors to borrow money to fund improvements to the sports complex, then servicing the loans with bed tax money.
The sticking point in December for this committee: hiking fees at the T-U Center in the middle of the symphony’s season.
While it was agreed that the revenue was needed, with $5 million of deferred maintenance for the building, the symphony balked at the timing.
Even with the revenue enhancement, maintenance costs will be daunting; the T-U Center is slated for a mere $255,000 more of yearly revenue from the fee hike, which will go into effect June 15.
Meanwhile, the T-U Center’s subfund is insolvent, pointing to other revenue woes.
The bill moves to the full council on January 11.
Another major measure in front of NCIS: a bill that would change tiebreaker votes of the Duval County School Board.
Resolution 2016-782, sponsored by Councilman Aaron Bowman, expresses support for a J-Bill that would amend the Florida statute so that the vote of the Duval County School Board chair would not break a tie. In 2006, the Legislature adopted a measure for Orange County that dictated that, in counties with between 800,000 and 900,000 people, the school board chair’s vote breaks the tie.
The board was of six members for a period in 2016, and there was talk at that point by the chair of possibly removing Superintendent Nikolai Vitti.
Bowman was not in attendance at the committee meeting, which left the bill exposed to questions as to whether or not the school board favored the bill.
Councilman Bill Gulliford wanted a “sense of the school board before we proceed.”
Councilwoman Joyce Morgan affirmed, after calling the school board chair, the board is in favor of the measure.
Bowman told us the board was for the measure.
Rules will be the second and final committee to mull this measure, and that will happen on Wednesday.