Judge orders Jacksonville Beach to place referendum on ballot, reversing a city council decision

Jax Beach City Council votes against ballot referendum to decide Volunteer Life Saving Corps’ future

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – Just one day after the Jacksonville Beach city council voted down putting the Volunteer Life Saving Corps issue on the ballot, a judge stepped in to reverse that vote.

On Monday, volunteer lifeguards rallied outside Jacksonville Beach city hall, urging the council to allow voters to decide the future of the VLSC. At their meeting, the council decided against it.

READ: Judge’s order for city to comply and put VLSC issue on ballot

This happened after a petition drive to put it on the ballot received thousands of signatures. “The city locked us out of the lifeguard station back in April and discontinued our contract back in December, and what we did is we asked the citizens of Jacksonville Beach if they want to vote on this issue themselves,” said Charles Bond with the VLSC. “We garnered 19% of registered voters of Jax Beach, which is the minimum requirement.”

The proposed amendment to the city charter would allow volunteer lifeguards to work in parallel with Jacksonville Beach Ocean Rescue lifeguards. Although the city decided not to let this issue go to voters -- the judge’s order reverses that decision and reads in part:

“Accordingly, it is hereby ORDERED that: As time is of the essence here, within seven (7) days of the date of this Order, Defendant shall take all actions necessary to place the proposed charter amendment on the ballot for the next general election, failing which Defendant shall appear before this Court on August 25, 2022, at 2:00 p.m. in Room 701, Duval county courthouse, 501 west Adams Street. Jacksonville 32202, and then and there show cause why the requested relief should not be granted’ DONE AND ORDERED in Jacksonville, Florida this 16th day of August, 2022′”

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