JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Mayor Lenny Curry sent an email late Thursday to the board members of JEA who are exploring options to restructure or sell the utility that they should give more options to City Council sooner and consider another option: Make the utility a department of the city of Jacksonville.
The JEA board is considering five scenarios to deal with what it feels are future challenges to its business model and currently has a team of managers in talks with nine potential bidders for all or part of the utility that provides electric, water and sewer service to most Jacksonville residents. The idea has drawn vocal opposition from the public, activist groups and members of City Council.
In his letter, Curry thanked them for their service, then encouraged JEA leadership to wrap up talks with potential buyers by the end of January, to hold town hall meetings on the future of the utility in each of City Council’s 14 districts, give multiple options to the Council, not just one, and he suggested a sixth option: move the independent authority into a department of the city so it’s budget and operation could be directly overseen by the mayor’s office and City Council.
He said that wasn’t necessarily his favorite option, but it was something that should be considered.
“I believe City Council has always had the authority to determine the next steps of the strategic planning process, but they have demonstrated they want to exercise this authority sooner with more flexibility,” Curry wrote. “Then, ultimately, the Council can also consider whether one option is sent to a ballot or if multiple options are sent to a ballot for voters consideration.”
I sent a letter to the JEA Board today asking them to do a number of things. Among my request was for them to move all decision making authority for the strategic future of JEA to City Council including the final decision. on the ITN process.— Lenny Curry (@lennycurry) December 13, 2019