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JEA Says It Won’t Sell Assets in St. Johns, Nassau Counties

JEA's Downtown Jacksonville headquarters
BILL BORTZFIELD / WJCT NEWS
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JEA's Downtown Jacksonville headquarters

When JEA's leadership announced the publicly owned utility was looking at selling all or part of its assets,  St. Johns and Nassau counties expressed interest in acquiring JEA's infrastructure there. 

But JEA says that’s no longer an option.

The St. Johns County Commission’s (SJCC) recently voted to pursue negotiations with JEA. But on Tuesday, the Jacksonville Office of General Counsel responded to the SJCC on behalf of JEA, writing in part:

After conferring with our client, JEA, regarding the letter, we want to reiterate that all discussions and negotiations related to JEA’s Invitation to Negotiate #127-19 (the “ITN”), including any discussions related to the Interlocal Agreement terms, were terminated by the JEA Board on December 24, 2019.
As such, any discussions to date between JEA representatives and the County regarding the sale of JEA assets under the Interlocal Agreement are void and of no effect. Further, JEA does not intend to continue any discussions with the County regarding this topic.

JEA spokeswoman Gina Kyle informed WJCT News via email a similar letter has been drafted and sent to Nassau County officials.

Following a public outcry and widening investigations, JEA's board voted to stop the sales process and remove former General Manager and CEO Aaron Zahn in December.

St. Johns and Nassau counties could prove to be significant growth areas for JEA in the coming years.

JEAmap.JPG
Credit JEA
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This JEA electric outage map shows the boundaries for the utility's service area.

The latest U.S. Census Bureau numbers show St. Johns County added about 11,000 residents between mid-2017 and mid-2018, making it one of the fastest-growth counties in the nation.

The county’s population has grown almost 34% since 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

During the same time period, Nassau County grew by just over 17% to an estimated 85,832 by mid-2018.

service_area_map_8.18.png
Credit JEA
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This JEA map shows the utility's water service area.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.

Bill joined WJCT News in September of 2017 from The Florida Times-Union, where he served in a variety of multimedia journalism positions.