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Jacksonville Poll: Most Oppose Relaxing City Council Term Limits

Jacksonville City Hall
Ray Hollister

Jacksonville elected officials would be able to serve 12 consecutive years instead of eight, if a bill passes the City Council on Tuesday.

Opponents of the legislation are touting a new poll that suggests most Jacksonville residents oppose more time in office.

The poll was commissioned by the national group U.S. Term Limits, which lobbies against term limit extensions at all levels of government.

In a phone survey this month of 400 Jacksonville residents, 72 percent opposed allowing Council members to serve an extra four-year term.

The poll did not ask about other elected officials covered under the legislation, like School Board members, the sheriff or election supervisor.

Still, three council members opposed to the bill — John Crescimbeni, Greg Anderson and Tommy Hazouri — joined U.S. Term Limits this week to announce broad support for their stance.

Bill sponsor Matt Schellenberg says longer terms would allow for better-informed, more experienced lawmaking.

If his bill does pass Tuesday, voters would have the final say through a ballot referendum next year.

Schellenberg withdrew a similar bill last year, he said, to allow the city to focus on a half-cent sales tax extension to help deal with pension debt. 

Contact Jessica Palombo at 904-358-6315, or on Twitter at @JessicaPubRadio.

Jessica Palombo supervises local news gathering and production, podcasts and web editorial content for WJCT News, ADAPT and Jacksonville Today. She is an award-winning writer and journalist with bylines including NPR, Experience Magazine, and The Gainesville Sun. She has a master’s degree in broadcast and digital journalism from Syracuse University and is an alumna of the University of Florida. A nearly lifelong resident of Jacksonville, she considers herself lucky to be raising her own children in her hometown. Follow Jessica Palombo on Twitter: @JaxJessicaP