Jacksonville City Councilmembers want answers before selling JEA to private investor - Florida Politics

Jacksonville City Councilmembers want answers before selling JEA to private investor

On Tuesday, Jacksonville City Councilmembers struggled, in a meeting in a packed Council chambers, with the idea of a sale of the JEA to a private company.

This was the second straight day on which Council members did a deep dive into JEA operations, with Monday offering Council calling for underground power lines.

The office of Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry has been open to (at least) discussing a sale, but speculation is that the process has moved beyond discussion.

Some, including Councilman Garrett Dennis, believe the sale is all but a done deal.

Notable about this meeting: Dennis, an irritant to the Mayor’s Office, had many Council members on his side in opposition to the Mayor’s Office.

Councilman John Crescimbeni wants a “referendum,” but the office of general counsel says that’s not necessary.

Crescimbeni and Council President Anna Brosche await further guidance from the OGC; in a sharp exchange, Brosche wondered how OGC’s Peggy Sidman knew that the potential sale would not be on the JEA Board meeting’s next agenda.

OGC does say that any sale of a utility’s assets amounting to more than 10 percent is contingent on a vote of the Jacksonville City Council. A charter change would be necessary to make that vote a referendum.

Katrina Brown wants “town halls” in her district to discuss the issue.

Reggie Brown wants to make sure infrastructure, such as $3 billion in sewer projects, are addressed in the sale.

Reggie Gaffney asserted that “JEA has a plan,” and wondered when Council would be made aware.

“We’re all kind of blindsided by this,” Dennis said, vowing to ensure that the Council do “whatever is best for the shareholders … the 850,000 people who own JEA,”

6 Comments

  1. Any action to sell JEA assets, water, wastewater or electric, to any private entity is not just premature, it is irresponsible. Neither JEA, Council nor the Mayor’s office has done due diligence on any sale of JEA assets and the impact on JEA customers, taxpayers and shareholders, let alone disclose these FACTS to JEA shareholders, who also happen to be customers, taxpayers and voters.

    1. Why would we sell an asset that provides 115 to 120 million dollars to the city budget every year. This idea is odd. There has to be more to this than meets the eye. Especially since there appears to be opposition to putting this idea to a vote so that our citizens can make the decision since we are told that we own it. We own it but it is OK THAT WE HAVE NO SAY.

  2. Who in Curry’s inner circle could make profits with a JEA sale? Councilmen and JEA board: attorneys, developers, etc. The plan has been in for awhile. Storm restoration response time will be longer, eventually property taxes higher, and the city’s cushion fund will be eliminated. Bad bad idea.

  3. Simple, JEA decided to pre-maturely close the power plant on Heckshire Drive, so that they no longer produce any power in this county. Now they want to sell off the assets since the City is stuck purchasing the power from the same people that want to buy out the JEA. Get ready to pay more for electricity Jacksonville!

  4. Gotta pay for that lot J somehow. Think about all those digital signs they can put up with that cash!! Then we can start talking long term about pension holidays.

  5. Selling JEA will result in our electrical rates going through the roof. This is not in the best interest of the customers that JEA serves. Politicians don’t give a crap about us… It’s just another way to screw the folks living in Jacksonville…

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