Florida Politics has covered the Lenny Curry transition subcommittees as thoroughly as any Jacksonville outlet, and as we review the subcommittee reports (in draft form), a holistic vision is emerging in both the budget early-stage actions by Curry and the organizational structure.
The A Safer Jacksonville subcommittee recommended new fire stations and some relocations of fire stations that were unsurprisingly, accounted for in the budget. It recommended that JSO look at its neighborhood outreach efforts. It’s likely not coincidental that Curry and Sheriff Mike Williams were involved in neighborhood outreach at Eureka Gardens this past weekend.
Expect more of those forays into crime-ridden neighborhoods in the coming months.
The Fiscal Responsibility subcommittee had some interesting recommendations as well that found their way into the budget process.
They wanted more transparency and accountability: They got it. “Make certain Departmental budgets actually reflect departmental activities and do not escalate due to pass-through charges. Incentives to save money do not exist in the current environment since Departments have little or no control over internal service charges.”
The committee wanted evaluation of the city’s reliance on debt for spending. Believe me, they got that from Sam Mousa and Mike Weinstein, who ensured that discipline was instilled. They wanted a review of building inspection fees; what they got, instead, was an ask for more building inspectors. There is a building inspection backlog, and building inspection is a profit game.
They also wanted a hard look at the Banking Fund; again, that’s in the Mousa/Weinstein wheelhouse.
Infrastructure subcommittee wanted a Neighborhoods Department, and there will be one sooner than later.
Operations, Human Resources, and Productivity, chaired by Chief of Staff Kerri Stewart, likewise pushed for Neighborhoods, and asked for a limiting of direct reports to the mayor. Which, given Stewart’s role, is definitely what is happening there.
Prevention and Intervention wanted a renewed Jacksonville Journey focused not on “feel-good” programs, but “programs that got results.”
They got $3 million more for the Jacksonville Journey, which will set the program back on the road toward yet again “establishing meaningful metrics to measure the success of programs in terms of their impact on prevention and intervention,” as had happened in the past.
The City/Not-for-Profit interface subcommittee, an obscure one, nonetheless had a salient recommendation. Push hard for grants and make sure resources are devoted to pursuing them.
“The committee is aware of several national grants that have been pursued by the City without the inclusion or knowledge of the nonprofit sector. In many cases, an individual nonprofit may also be pursuing the same grant. This erodes the confidence of the grantor that priorities are aligned in Jacksonville,” report reads.
We have, of course, covered Streamlining Growth and Opportunity already.
One of the things people have said around city hall is that “the adults are back in charge.” While that may be a reductionist statement, there is a back-to-basics approach suffusing most of what the new administration is doing.
The budget is reasonable, so much so that even an old hand like Ron Littlepage observes that the budget review process, compared to recent years, will be devoid of fireworks.
It will be interesting to see whether the Era of Good Feeling persists into the dog days of August and into September.