Jacksonville, Florida

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Jacksonville, Florida
Seal of Jacksonville, Florida.png
General information
City website:http://www.coj.net/
Mayor Alvin Brown.jpg
Mayor:Alvin Brown
Mayor party:Nonpartisan
Last mayoral election:2011
Next mayoral election:2015
Last city council election:2013
Next city council election:2015
City council seats:14
2013-2014 FY Budget:$1,064,512,646
Composition data
Population:842,583
Gender:51.5% Female
Race:White 59.4%
Hispanic or Latino 7.7%
African American 30.7%
Asian 4.3%
Two or More 2.9%
Unemployment:5.8%
Median household income:$48,143
High school graduation rate:87.2%
College graduation rate:24.7%
Related Jacksonville offices
Florida Congressional Delegation
Florida State Legislature
Florida state executive offices
Jacksonville is a city in Florida. It is the county seat of Duval County. As of 2013, its population was 842,583.[1]

Office of the Mayor

Alvin Brown is the current mayor of Jacksonville. He was elected in 2011.

City Council

The city council is Jacksonville's primary legislative body. It is responsible for approving and adopting the city budget, levying taxes and making or amending city laws and policies.[2]

Committees, Boards and Commissions

Jacksonville city council members sit on several different standing committees where many city policies and laws originate. There is also a series of advisory boards and commissions that are made up of non-elected citizens, who have been appointed and approved by the council itself. The roles of these boards and commissions are to review, debate and comment upon city policies and legislation and to make recommendations to the city council.[3]

For a full list of Jacksonville's committees, boards and commissions, see here.

Membership

The Jacksonville City Council is comprised of nineteen council members, who are elected to four-year terms and serve part-time as legislators. The city is divided into 14 single-member districts of nearly equal population. The remaining five council members are elected at-large. Council members can serve no more than two consecutive terms. The council appoints a president and vice-president every May to serve one-year terms beginning July 1. The current council president is Clay E. Yarborough.[4]

Current City Council Members, as of July 1, 2011:[5]

Member Representation District
Clay Yarborough District 1 District
William Bishop District 2 District
Richard Clark District 3 District
Don Redman District 4 District
Lory N. Boyer District 5 District
Matt Schellenberg District 6 District
Dr. John Gaffney District 7 District
E. Denise Lee District 8 District
Warren A. Jones District 9 District
Reginald L. Brown District 10 District
Ray Holt District 11 District
Doyle Carter District 12 District
Bill Gulliford District 13 District
Jim Love District 14 District
Kimberly Daniels Group 1 At-Large
John R. Crescimbeni Group 3 At-Large
Stephen C. Joost Group 3 At-Large
Greg Anderson Group 4 At-Large
Robin Lumb Group 5 At-Large

Budget

Jacksonville's budget for fiscal year 2013-14 was $1,064,512,646.[6]

Contact Information

Mayor's Office
City Hall at St. James Building
117 W. Duval St. Suite 400
Jacksonville, FL 32202
Phone: (904) 630-1776
Email: mayorbrown@coj.net

To contact individual council members, see here

Lobbying

See also: Florida government sector lobbying and Florida League of Cities.

Jacksonville reported spent a total of $2,670,000 lobbying between 2000-2011 (see table). No data is available after 2011.

Reported lobbying expenditures, 2000-2010[7]
Year Amount spent on lobbying
2011 120,000
2010 $210,000
2009 $400,000
2008 $360,000
2007 $360,000
2006 $200,000
2005 $260,000
2004 $400,000
2003 $280,000
2002 $260,000
2001 $120,000
2000 $120,000

Jacksonville pays membership dues to the Florida League of Cities, a government sector lobbying association.[8]

Ballot measures

See also: Duval County, Florida ballot measures

The city of Indianapolis is in Duval County. A list of ballot measures in Duval County is available here.

Initiative process

See also: Laws governing local ballot measures in Florida

Population as of the July, 2011 census update: 827,908.[9] Jacksonville is a chartered consolidated city-county.

Jacksonville has a different process for charter amendment from the process set by the state. The petition must be signed by qualified voters of Duval County equal in number to at least 5% of the total number of registered voters in the city at the time of the last preceding general consolidated government election. The petition must be filed with the Supervisor of Elections for validation no later than 180 days prior to the election date requested by the petitioners' committee. The Form of the petition is detailed in the Jacksonville Charter, Sec. 18.05. The petitioning process shall be commenced by any 5 registered voters who shall file with the supervisor of elections an affidavit stating that they will constitute the "petitioners' committee." The Petitioner's Committee shall simultaneously file proof of the establishment of a political committee as required by section 106.03 of the Florida Statutes. The completed petition is filed with supervisor of elections. The approval process is direct and, unless otherwise scheduled by the Council, the referendum shall be held as a part of and at the same time as the next consolidated government, school board, state, or federal election in which all qualified voters of Duval County are entitled to participate. A simple majority determines the outcome of the election.

The Jacksonville charter does not authorize binding ordinance initiative, but does permit the same process above to be used for a non-binding "straw poll" ballot vote on any matter of public interest. (Jacksonville Charter, Sec. 18.05)[10]

Pensions

Negotiations between the city and its police union broke down and could head to court.[11] The pension reform plan proposed by the Jacksonville mayor would hike the age at which police officers could retire, double how much they contribute to retirement and shrink the size of pensions. It would also cap at $100,000 the amount of benefits retired officers could receive and prevent retiring officers from receiving their pensions until they are 60-years-old. City officials say the proposals will save the city $1.5 billion over 30 years.[12]

A union official told city representatives to "take me to court."[13]

This year, $150 million from the city's $945 million general fund went to pay pension costs, with $122 million going to cover police officers and firefighters. If nothing changes, the city says, police and fire pensions would cost $175 million in fiscal year 2019.[14]

The mayor's proposed reforms for firefighter pension would require fire employees to wait until they turned 60 to get their retirement benefits. Under the current system an employee qualifies after 20 years of service. The proposed plan would also eliminate cost of living adjustments and the deferred retirement option program. The proposal would not affect any former fire employees but apply to all new and many current ones.[15]

A group of citizens criticized the police and fire pension leadership for poor management during a community forum. The critics supported a bill that would give the city council more control over the fund's board. The bill would allow the City Council to draw up a slate of people from which the fifth member of the pension fund board can be selected; right now, the other four members of the board — one named by police officers, one by firefighters and two by the City Council — can choose anyone for the fifth seat.[16]

After only two days of negotiations talks with fire union leaders has reached an impasse. The Union maintains it will not negotiate pension reform with the city, but rather that should be done between Jacksonville and the Police and Fire Pension Fund.[17]

Website evaluation

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Meetings
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Elected Officials
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Administrative Officials
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Permits, zoning
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Audits
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Public Records
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Transparency grading process

The good

  • Budget
    • The most current budget is listed.[18]
    • Budgets are archived for 14 years.[19]
  • Administrative officials
    • Department heads are listed for each department.[20]
    • Contact information for administrative officials is provided including a mailing address, phone number, and personalized email.
  • Elected officials
    • Elected officials are listed with a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.[21]
  • Meetings
    • Meeting minutes are archived for 9 years.
    • Meeting agendas are archived for 9 years.[22].
    • A meeting calendar is available and names the times and locations of public meetings.
    • Meeting video are available.[23]
  • Audits
    • The most recent audit is posted.
    • Audits dating back to 1999-2000 are available.[24]
  • Contracts
    • Bids and RFPs are posted online.[25]
    • Approved contract statements are provided for vendors.[26]
  • Public records
    • The public information officer is identified by requester status. These employees provide a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.[27]
    • A public records form is provided..
    • A fee schedule for documents is provided.
  • Taxes
    • Tax revenues are broken down by federal, state, and local funding in the budget.
    • Local taxes, like property taxes, are available online.[28]
    • Residents are able to pay taxes online.[29]
  • Permits and zoning
    • Zoning ordinances are posted online.
    • Permit applications can be downloaded on the site, along with information on how to apply for the permits.[30]

The bad

  • Lobbying
    • If the county engaged in lobbying actives or if it's a member of government lobbying associations are not disclosed. Nor is the total cost lobbying activities or membership dues for associations available.

See also

External links

References

  1. U.S. Census, "State and County Quick Facts," accessed on August 19, 2014
  2. City of Jacksonville, "City Council," accessed on August 19, 2014
  3. City of Jacksonville, "Standing Committees," accessed on August 19, 2014
  4. Jacksonville City Council, accessed on August 19, 2014
  5. City Council Members
  6. City of Jacksonville: Proposed Budget for FY 2014-15, accessed on August 19, 2014
  7. Open Secrets
  8. Florida League of Cities, "Membership Directory," accessed on August 19, 2014
  9. US Census, Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places in Florida: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2011
  10. Link to Jacksonville Charter
  11. Action News Jacksonville, FOP to the City: "It's a slap in the face.," Oct. 31, 2012
  12. Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville mayor proposes cutting pension benefit for police officers, Oct. 29, 2012
  13. [http://www.actionnewsjax.com/content/topstories/story/FOP-to-the-City-Its-a-slap-in-the-face/-4dBoNYZX0-SpVZ8U3KYFw.cspx/ Action News jacksonville, FOP to the City: "It's a slap in the face." Nov. 2, 2012]
  14. Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville mayor proposes cutting pension benefit for police officers, Oct. 29, 2012
  15. First Coast News, Mayor Alvin Brown, City of Jacksonville propose firefighter pension reform, Dec. 27, 2012
  16. [http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2013-01-05/story/jacksonvilles-pension-fund-administration-comes-under-fire/ Florida Times Union, Jacksonville's pension fund administration comes under fire, Jan. 5, 2013
  17. WOKV, Jacksonville declares impasse with firefighters, Jan. 7, 2013
  18. City of Jacksonville, 2013 Budget, Accessed: Jan 19, 2013
  19. City of Jacksonville, Budgets, Accessed: Jan 19, 2013
  20. City of Jacksonville, Staff Directory, Accessed: Jan 19, 2013
  21. City of Jacksonville, Elected Officials, Accessed: Jan 19, 2013
  22. City of Jacksonville, Meeting Minutes and Agendas, Accessed: Jan 19, 2013
  23. City of Jacksonville, Meeting Calendar and Video, Accessed: Jan 19, 2013
  24. City of Jacksonville, Audits, Accessed: Jan 19, 2013
  25. City of Jacksonville, Bids, Accessed: Jan 19, 2013
  26. City of Jacksonville, Contracts, Accessed: Jan 19, 2013
  27. City of Jacksonville, Public Records Requests, Accessed: Jan 19, 2013
  28. City of Jacksonville, Tax Structure, Accessed: Jan 19, 2013
  29. City of Jacksonville, Pay Taxes Online, Accessed: Jan 19, 2013
  30. City of Jacksonville, Planning and Development, Accessed: Jan 19, 2013