Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry was very clear in urging the Jacksonville City Council to make a decision whether to move a controversial monument.
“The Jax City Council should take a yes or no vote on the removal of monuments that represent the oppression of people. The people of Jax, that elected you, deserve to know where you stand. They elected you to make decisions,” Curry tweeted Tuesday, as a series of speakers in favor of maintaining a Confederate monument in Springfield Park supported a referendum on the topic.
The referendum “City Removal of Historic Monuments and Markers On City-Owned Property” would pose the question: “Shall the City of Jacksonville remove historic monuments and markers, defined as fixed assets that are identifiable because of particular historic, national, local or symbolic significance, on City-owned property?”
The public hearing Tuesday night was a precursor to the referendum bill potentially moving into committees next week and then on to the full City Council.
Curry’s proposal to move the monument was rebuffed last year by City Council committees, before being withdrawn ahead of a likely “no” vote by the full Council.
The Mayor’s Office said $1.3 million would be necessary for the safe removal of the ‘Monument to the Women of the Southland’, and Council members balked at the price tag.
City Councilman Matt Carlucci introduced a resolution last month compelling a new plan for monument removal by July 26, capping the cost for monument removal at $500,000, with “alternative funding” sought to cover inevitable cost overage. He said that filing was the “next step in moving Jacksonville forward.” That bill is stuck in committee.
“I’ve heard people … I’ve evolved,” the Mayor said. “The others in the city will be removed as well.”
But the Council holds the power of the purse and has yet to be moved by his arguments on this issue.