Jacksonville Councilman Files Bill To Control Spending After Potential JEA Sale

Feb 8, 2018

Jacksonville Councilman Matt Schellenberg has filed a bill that would put strict controls on how proceeds from a potential sale of JEA could be spent.

That’s a day after a draft report laid out the process for selling the community-owned utility company.

Though the consultants assessing JEA’s net worth are still calculating, Schellenberg — who is City Council’s liaison to the utility — wants to make sure whatever money Jacksonville makes off the sale would be used carefully.

Toward that goal, he’s proposing to create what’s called a restricted reserve account that would require a two-thirds vote by Council members to tap it. Read the full text of his bill here.

That would mean members hoping to use some JEA sale cash for projects would need to win over a supermajority of their colleagues.

A draft valuation report out this week makes the case for selling JEA, saying the market value of its assets has never been higher. Opponents of selling point to the loss of JEA’s annual payment to the city, the possibility customers could pay more and employees’ losing pensions and other benefits.

Ryan Benk can be reached at rbenk@wjct.org, 904-358-6319 or on Twitter at @RyanMichaelBenk.