January 26, 2022
In The Public Interest

Civic Council: JEA Not In A Death Spiral, Urgency of Sale “Nonexistent”

In a November 5 letter to the president and members of City council, Jacksonville’s Civic Council claims that JEA is “not in a ‘death spiral’ and the “urgency” of a sale is “nonexistent.” The letter further states that the current “JEA-initiated ITN [Intent to Negotiate] process” “lacks transparency” and thus is “inconsistent with Florida law” and that any exploration of a potential sale of the publicly-owned utility “should be conducted by the Jacksonville City Council in an open and thorough manner.”

While the nonprofit Civic Council of roughly 80 chief executive officers takes no position on whether or not JEA should be sold, the letter notes that the effort to sell JEA “appears to have as its objective the provision of at least $3 billion in funds to the City of Jacksonville.” The letter chastises the current administration for not addressing “fundamental questions underlying that objective” including, “does the City of Jacksonville need additional public funding? and b) if so, how much money is needed, and for what purpose?”

Click here to view the full text or download the pdf.

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Editorial Staff
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1 comment
  • The Jacksonville Civic Council, the ultra-exclusive club of well-heeled and interconnected businesspeople and civic leaders in Northeast Florida, has now come forth with a declaration that the Jacksonville Electric Authority is rushing to sell our publically owned utility using a process that lacks transparency and is legally flawed.

    This really sounds like something at first blush, but alas, it falls short.

    “The Jacksonville Civic Council is neither for or against the sale of JEA at this time,” states a letter the Council sent to Jacksonville city officials. “However, the disposition of our city’s largest taxpayer-owned asset is far too important to be considered in legally flawed, closed door negotiations that contradict current nationwide trends and could potentially result in negative consequences for the community, including higher prices for ratepayers with little opportunity for redress.”

    Besides that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?

    Apparently the Council members are trying to hedge their bets. Maybe they hope the legally flawed, closed door rush-to-judgment stacked in favor of selling the JEA could undergo a metamorphosis. A public rebuke from the Civic Council could bring about legally sound, open and transparent deliberations from City Hall and the JEA, right?

    No, it can’t.

    Message to Jacksonville Civic Council members: If you decide to show up at a fight, don’t pull your punches. If you believe the process is legally flawed, that alone is reason to oppose it. If the process lacks transparency, as you say it does, that too is a solid reason to oppose a JEA sale. Otherwise, keep quiet until you have something definitive to say.

Written by Editorial Staff

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