Jacksonville struggles with the ongoing need to convert failing septic systems to city sewer, and the new budget may help.
The final budget includes $6 million for septic tank phaseout in Northwest Jacksonville’s Beverly Hills East neighborhood, a priority of Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, carried by Rep. Wyman Duggan. This number was up from the $4.6 million in the “sprinkle list” projects released Monday night.
The city proposes to match the $6 million with its own money to fund the phase out of 200 tanks, benefiting the adjacent Ribault River.
The need is real: the city and its utility, JEA, embarked on a plan to phase out the tanks five years ago. At that time, Beverly Hills was in the top three neighborhoods in terms of need.
The funding, should it meet with final approval from Gov. Ron DeSantis, would help the city and its municipal utility to get a bit closer to the daunting tasks of phaseout projects promised a half century ago.
Cost overruns have plagued the project over all, notes News4Jax.
″I don’t know the details of exactly why it’s off, but the combination of time, the economy and the complexity of the work makes it harder to do, and the estimate was not the same as what the funding was in place for,” new CEO Jay Stowe said.
The scope of the Beverly Hills Septic Tank Phase-Out project includes a new wastewater collection system and a pump station to move wastewater offsite, according to the appropriations request.
The legislative will is toward fixing these issues, with larger budgetary movement in that direction as the final document takes shape.
The budget includes $500,000,000 of proposed septic to sewer conversion funding, with the House and Senate agreeing to appropriate coronavirus relief funds in that direction. That too is contingent on DeSantis’ approval in the final budget.
Expect the Curry team to make its case in the days ahead.