I wish you all a joyous and wonderful holiday season! Take time to enjoy your friends, family, and think about the real reasons for our holidays. We have so much to be thankful for, even though there are so many opportunities to work together to make our world better. I look forward to a productive 2016 in our City and am grateful to my fellow Council members, our excellent staff, the Mayor and his team, and our hard working City employees who are all rowing in the same direction for a better Jacksonville.
The last month was busy with the Jaguars new proposal, negotiation with JEA regarding their contribution to the City (we own the utility and they don’t pay taxes as a private utility would), and work with JTA on public parking access on the Southbank, and completion of the gas tax funded road projects. Happily, the Lady St. Johns was removed from the riverfront where it was partially submerged, work on drainage improvements in the District have been progressing, and the extreme high tides that plagued several neighborhoods with street flooding have abated.
The new Human Rights Ordinance proposals have been in the news and will certainly consume Council time in early 2016. I am committed to work on a number of zoning and land use bills in the New Year, including a revision of the PUD process, and met with our new Planning Director, Bill Killingsworth, to get that process started last week. I also will have an intern from University of Florida Law School who I plan to put work on those long overdue projects. In addition, Bill Gulliford and I have had two noticed meetings this month to discuss the remaining items on the list of recommendations stemming from the Task Force on Consolidated Government and will be working to implement all of those throughout the spring.
As the District 5 representative, I must share my excitement about all the new development activity coming to the Southbank area. From MD Anderson on one end to “The District” on the other, and almost every parcel in between there are plans for improvement. This is a good sign for all of Jacksonville. I think the recovery is here at last!
As always, I am grateful for this opportunity to serve you and please don’t hesitate to contact me with your comments, suggestions, and questions.