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Duval Voters Overwhelmingly Approve JEA Straw Ballot

JEA's downtown Jacksonville headquarters.
Bill Bortzfield
JEA's downtown headquarters building is pictured behind Jacksonville's City Hall.

Voters in Jacksonville have sent a clear message to the City Council - they want a say in any potential future sale of more than 10 percent of the public utility company JEA.

The JEA straw measure on the general election ballot has overwhelmingly passed. You can see the vote total here.

John Crescimbeni, At-Large City Councilman Group 2 and Chairman of the 19 member Special Committee on the potential sale of JEA, stressed that the ballot measure is not a binding referendum. It simply sends a message to the City Council, which is under no obligation to honor the results of Tuesday’s election.

See Also: Election Returns and Coverage

“We would have to amend the charter to put this language into the charter as it relates to JEA,” he said. “But that would take a two-thirds vote. Changing the JEA charter requires a two-thirds vote of the Council, and I have that ordinance pending before the Council.”

That charter change was being held in abeyance until after the election.

Crescimbeni, who put the measure forward following extensive conversations earlier this year about potentially selling JEA, also wanted voters to understand that this ballot measure didn’t have anything to do with whether or not JEA should be sold, despite misleading texts sent to voters just before the election.

If the City Council approves the charter amendment that Crescimbeni says he will put forward, voters will get the chance to vote on any future sale of 10 percent or more of JEA.

“In the event that JEA was proposed to be sold by the JEA board and the City Council agreed, then whatever those terms and conditions were would go before the voters as an up or down vote,” Crescimbeni said. “We’ve done that in the past with other important issues like the Better Jacksonville Plan in 2000, certainly the pension reform plan in 2016.”

Special Projects Producer Brendan Rivers joined WJCT News in August of 2018 after several years as a reporter and then News Director at Southern Stone Communications, which owns and operates several radio stations in the Daytona Beach area.