Bill approved for funds to hire attorney for JEA privatization

Resolution that opposed plan to elect school superintendent fails

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville City Council voted Tuesday night to approve a bill that sets aside $1.8 million to hire an independent attorney to help review any deal to sell JEA.

The vote was 15-3 in favor. Council members Aaron Bowman, LeAnna Cumber and Terrance Freeman were the "no" votes.

There was a floor amendment that would have lowered the cost from $1.8 million to $500,000. That amendment failed.

JEA has moved to its negotiations phase with nine business groups that are interested in buying the utility. JEA is keeping the negations secret until a company is selected.

In July, the JEA board voted unanimously to investigate privatizing the city-owned utility.

The City Council also considered a resolution that opposed a plan to make Duval County's school superintendent an elected position. That resolution failed. There were nine votes for and nine votes against the resolution.

Additionally, Duval County passed an agreement known as The Fire Watch. It's a coordinated effort between the City of Jacksonville and the counties of Baker, Clay, Nassau and St. Johns to put an end to veteran suicides in the region.

The Fire Watch will coordinate an effort to organize existing resources to combat the veteran suicide epidemic.

About the Authors:

Kent Justice co-anchors News4Jax's 5 p.m., 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts weeknights and reports on government and politics. He also hosts "This Week in Jacksonville," Channel 4's hot topics and politics public affairs show each Sunday morning at 9 a.m.