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JEA Says No To Mayor On Pensions, Offers Alternative

Peter Haden

JEA said it is not in a position to meet Mayor Brown’s request for $40 million per year to fund some of the City’s unpaid $1.6 billion Police and Fire pension debt.

In a meeting of JEA's Finance and Audit Committee, Chief Financial Officer Melissa Dykes said reduced energy usage and increasing environmental regulations have strained the utility’s finances.

The Mayor made the request in February. As an alternative, JEA CEO Paul McElroy proposed a one time future payment of $120 million in exchange for cost-saving measures and a renegotiation JEA’s future contributions to the city budget.

The amount could be paid as soon as a deal is reached between the utility and the City. JEA would borrow the money. Rates for consumers would not be raised.

The Mayor’s Office, City Council and JEA will continue negotiations and try to reach an agreement in the coming months.

The current contract between the city and JEA lasts through 2016.

You can follow Peter Haden on Twitter @HadenMedia.

Peter Haden is an award-winning investigative reporter and photographer currently working with The Center for Investigative Reporting. His stories are featured in media outlets around the world including NPR, CNN en Español, ECTV Ukraine, USA Today, Qatar Gulf Times, and the Malaysia Star.