JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Months into a political firestorm over the prospect of the city selling the JEA, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry issued a statement Thursday morning, writing, "I am choosing to state unequivocally that I will not submit any JEA privatization plan to the City Council."
Tensions between the mayor's office, City Council members and the JEA have been on display since the idea of privatizing the city-owned utility was first floated by an outgoing JEA board chairman late last year.
While Curry has been consistent in his public statements that he is not pushing the agenda, members of City Council and the council auditor believe that his administration was working behind the scenes to valuate the electric/water/sewer utility for possible sale.
Curry, who is in Dallas for the NFL draft, told News4Jax that selling the JEA was never his idea.
I never proposed any privatization plan, nor did I ever suggest or say to anyone that I would propose such a plan," Curry said.
"Unfortunately, a clear and reasonable process to discuss these issues was hijacked by a few special interests and politicians with an agenda to put politics above all else.
"I am choosing to state unequivocally that I will not submit any JEA privatization plan to the City Council."
News4Jax is reaching out to get reaction from all the stakeholders in the decision. This article will be updated throughout the day.