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Jacksonville City Council rejects added pension payments

Tuesday evening was, by and large, a typical legislative agenda for the Jacksonville City Council. Not a lot of drama, even on the one bill they voted down.

Pension tension: That rejected bill mentioned above; legislation from Danny Becton that attempted to sock more money away for the city’s $3.2 billion unfunded pension liability.

Becton’s bill would have allocated a portion of increases in general fund revenue to the pension debt from the now-closed defined benefit plan.

Becton’s bill was shot down by two Council committees, but he didn’t pull it before the floor vote, saying that the money put aside would be “very little … a rounding error” at first, with the money put away being expanded to $60 million by the end of next decade.

The bill had five votes in favor — including the Council President, who was also a bill sponsor.

Hart Bridge design elements study greenlighted: Jacksonville is looking at a way to get federal money to reconfigure the offramps from the Hart, with the current justification being to improve freight traffic headed to Talleyrand

Chief Administrative Officer Sam Mousa pushed in committees last week for $1.5 million for a “design criteria project,” a prerequisite for moving forward on this “shovel-ready project.”

Tuesday saw the full Council green light it.

This design criteria project could be done in as few as four months, or as many as eight. This would include a survey of the current conditions, preliminary design alignments (such as lane location and speed rates), and other such basic criteria.

This $1.5 million is important, said Mousa, because the city is pursuing a federal infrastructure grant of $25 million, with $12.5 million from Florida in matching money and $12.5 million from the city.

The bill moved forward without objection, and now the city moves forward.

Opioid lawsuit moves forward: Resolution (2017-674) will allow the city’s general counsel to “investigate and pursue” a lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, and choose outside representation. Each firm’s financial capability to pursue the matter is among criteria considered.

Big-ticket rehab for Section 8 properties: Jacksonville City Council resolution 2017-671, which would authorize $90,000,000 in Jacksonville Housing Finance Authority bonds for  Millennia Housing Management (MHM) to “finance, acquire, rehab & equip four Multifamily Rental Housing Developments,” was approved by Council committees of reference last week. It sailed through Council at large.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades. Gancarski has been a correspondent for since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at

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