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Highlights from Tuesday’s Jax Rules Committee meeting

Jacksonville City Council’s Rules Committee considered a number of bills and appointments Tuesday.

The big issue on the agenda was the Jaguars amphitheater bill, which CFO Mike Weinstein said “has been filed” but is not yet up in the city’s bill search system.

The proposal, which has had copious substitutions, will be scrutinized this week by the kind of people who scrutinize capital improvement bills that involve $45 million of municipal financing.

We have requested a copy of this bill.

Beyond that, here are the other interesting bits:

  • The reappointment of Rocelia Roman de Gonzalez to the Human Rights Commission was surprisingly controversial, with Gonzalez debating Councilwoman Anna Brosche and Councilman Tommy Hazouri about her attendance record. The candidate missed 32 percent of the meetings, according to the agenda, and her appointment was tabled briefly pending clarification … a surprising move given the jocularity that accompanied the appointments of Warren Jones, Ed Burr, Jeanne Miller, and Bill Killingsworth to various positions. It turned out she had attended eight of 11 meetings, which satisfied all parties concerned.
  • James Richardson faced his strongest inquiry from the committees he’s spoken to when requesting appropriation for the annual State of the River Reports for the Lower St. Johns County Basin. Brosche had drill-down questions about funding for the report, which has been funded by the city through the past decade, urging Richardson and the Environmental Protection Board to continue pursuing alternative funding. Hazouri asked questions about the river; Richardson said, overall the river is trending in the right direction, but elements remain to work on, including consequences of stormwater runoff contaminated by fertilizer, and public education that would theoretically reduce it. The last report was 309 pages; I’ll wait for the movie.
  • Richard Patsy, up for the Police and Fire Pension Board, was endorsed by Hazouri, the City Council liaison to this board. “I see a fresh approach to the board,” Hazouri said, “and hopefully the other stuff will be resolved.” Patsy, when asked what the biggest change he would make in the board would be by Councilman Jim Love, said that he needs to get over there “and see what all the issues are.” Patsy is “not a person that throws the baby out with the bathwater,” and would like to “get the Pension Fund out of the front page of the newspaper.” A vote on Patsy is in two weeks.
  • Chief Kurt Wilson of the Fire and Rescue Department then spoke, regarding a “pro-business move” related to a rule mandating a hydrant within 1,000 feet of a building, and 500 feet of a new structure. A hydrant install runs about $80,000; the move, Wilson said, is to allow an exception, which jibes with state law. Councilman John Crescimbeni had questions regarding the bill, and others followed; the bill will be deferred for two weeks.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at AG@FloridaPolitics.com

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