What the new state budget holds for Jacksonville – Florida Politics

What the new state budget holds for Jacksonville

Jacksonville may not have gotten the $15M the city sought from the state for help with its septic tank phaseout project. And the big ask ahead of the session — $50M for the Hart Bridge offramp renovations — never even materialized.

That said, the city and various non-profits do have some appropriations to look forward to … assuming the budget passes as-is, and these projects escape Rick Scott‘s veto pen.


The Duval Delegation may have had its share of rookies, but the state budget looks poised to bring home some key asks.

Among them are a few items we have been tracking.

The Mayo Clinic Cancer Center of Jacksonville is on track to get $2M to fund an endowed cancer research chair.

Operation New Hope’s Ready4Work reentry initiative got $1.445M – all but $200,000 in recurring funds.

The city’s Downtown Investment Authority got $1.4M for downtown street lights.

$1.1M from the State Transportation Trust Fund is provided for the installation of pedestrian signals, refuge islands, sidewalks, and street lighting in the City of Jacksonville, a measure carried by Rep. Clay Yarborough.

Crosswalk Countdown Traffic Signal Heads Installation, another Yarborough bill, got $1,231,072 in the budget.

It appears that $535,000 is earmarked for the Hogan’s Creek Greenway as well. Along with $200,000 for the Gefen Bridge on the Northbank Riverwalk.

Jacksonville is poised to get $500,000 for the J.P. Small Baseball Park and Museum, a project pushed by Democratic Rep. Tracie Davis.

As well, $500,000 looks likely to come through for the Riverside Arts Market.

The Beaver Street Enterprise Center is marked down for $400,000 of non-recurring funds. Yarborough carried that one.

“The business incubator’s purpose is to provide entrepreneurs and small-to-mid-sized businesses with technical assistance, professional mentoring, and office space at reduced rates while demonstrating the incubator’s model is ready for expansion into other cities to further promote small businesses and job creation,” read the appropriations request form.

As well, $350,000 for the LaSalle Pump Station project – an initiative carried by Rep. Jason Fischer – came through in the budget.

The city should also get $325,000 of state money for its ShotSpotter program.

Rep. Kim Daniels pushed the ask for $325,000 for Jacksonville’s two-year pilot program of the ShotSpotter technology, which detects gunshots after they are fired.

The initial deployment of the program, a priority of the Lenny Curry administration, would be in a five square mile area of Health Zone 1.

“The funds shall provide a sensor based technology that detects, locates and alerts on all outdoor urban gunfire on a real time and precise basis,” asserts the budget.

Jacksonville will also get $300,000 for The Arc’s “transition to community employment program.”

The city will also get $250,000 for its COPS grant — a matching grant program from the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) within the U.S. Department of Justice.

This will allow the city to hire more police officers, an important consideration with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office understaffed as it is.

Also getting $250,000: a driverless shuttle program, a priority of Rep. Jason Fischer.

This money will go for a local deployment of the Olli minibus, a Local Motors vehicle made in part with 3D printing and powered by IBM Watson technology.

The Watson technology allows passengers to communicate with the vehicle, much as an iPhone user might with Siri.

The shuttle to Jacksonville’s Baptist Health Complex would be the first working example of this technology anywhere in Florida, and is expected to be a model for similar ones in other cities.

The shuttle would be used for medical transport — Elite Parking Services of America would, in conjunction with Baptist Health, start up this system.

In the budget, $150,000 in nonrecurring general revenue funds is provided for the Wayman Community Development At-Risk Services Program – this program aims to help at-risk youth. And $500,000 goes to the Fresh Ministries/Fresh Paths program for similar services, via a bill carried by Cord Byrd in the House.

On the collegiate front, a highlight was $6.39M to the University of North Florida for Science and Engineering Building renovations, and another $3M for Schultz Hall renovations.

The beaches had a lean year, but Neptune Beach can look forward to $400,000 for stormwater culvert improvements on Florida Boulevard: Sen. Aaron Bean and Rep. Cord Byrd put in the work there.


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