The Jacksonville Civic Council is tackling the city’s most pressing issues, from pension reform to downtown development, in order to bring business advice and perspective to public policies.
Council executive director Jeanne Miller said the future of the First Coast looks bright because of those efforts.
The group, formed in 2010, is composed of about 65 local CEO’s who have been extraordinarily successful in their careers, building businesses and giving back to the community. Together, they employ more than 10,000 people in Jacksonville.
The council was modeled after a number of similar organizations in larger cities. Their goal is to take a hard look at difficult issues to help grow the city in different ways.
“All of that leads to moving Jacksonville forward and enhancing our quality of life,” Miller said.
According to Miller, because Jacksonville is so big there are a tremendous number of assets that can be overlooked. She named pension reform and downtown development as two continuing issues.
“We really have to get a handle on the unfunded liability,” she said, “as well as ensuring the people in the system are protected.”
She hopes the council moves toward a benefit structure that will retain workers, but will also be sustainable.
“Until we can get ahold of that, more and more of our general revenues and city dollars will be dedicated to funding a debt,” she said, adding that the goal is to get to a point where the council can begin to fund the things that make the city great.