Duval County elections chief picks Imeson location

Supervisor of Elections workers point out major problems with current building

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Duval County's Supervisor of Elections is recommending a location on the Northside for his new satellite office, but Mayor Alvin Brown's administration is recommending the center stay at Gateway Mall.

City Council was expected to vote on issue at Tuesday night's meeting, but it was pulled from the agenda.

For more than a year, SOE Jerry Holland and the city has discussed moving its largest facility out of the Gateway Mall location. Options have been discussed ranging from building a new building on city-owned property in LaVilla to leasing building space at Imeson Park Boulevard, in Southgate Shopping Center on Beach Boulevard or signing a new lease at Gateway that would include significant renovations and a lower rental rate.

On Tuesday, Holland announced he is recommending City Council approve the Imeson location because it save taxpayers $3.3 million over the next 10 years.

"Based on our analysis, the bottom line is the One Imeson proposal is the best value for taxpayers. It is a politically neutral site that allows us to meet our budget obligations while being easily accessible," Holland wrote in a statement.

While Holland is recommending the Imeson location, it is primary to meet budget reductions required by Mayor Alvin Brown's 2014 budget. This location would save the elections office $573,000 next year and there would be no cost to build out the facility or move.

"I still believe in the long run the best home for the Supervisor of Elections Office and Elections Center would have been to build a combined office-warehouse space downtown on city owned property," Holland wrote.

Later Tuesday, Channel 4's Jim Piggott learned the Brown's office will recommend to council that the office stay in renovated facilities at Gateway.

The mayor's office says Gateway offers the lowest rent over the lease period, and since it includes free rent for the first six months after signing, so it would offer the greatest savings "in this difficult budget year."

Holland released different figures, saying Gateway's rent over 10 years would amount to $371,529 more than the cost of the Imeson lease.

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