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Politics

New Task Force To Review Jacksonville's Consolidated Government

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A new City Council task force will soon be announced with the mission of reviewing Jacksonville's combined city-county government. 

The panel could contain up to 30 people, and will be chaired by Jacksonville City Councilwoman Lori Boyer.

Local historian and author Jim Crooks is an expert on the history of consolidation. He points out that the decision to combine the city and county was made 45 years ago to reduce government corruption, inefficiency and waste. Some also believe consolidation accomplished the goal of diluting the voting power of Jacksonville's African American citizens, although Crooks says that was not the overriding imperative at the time.

The task force is expected to review the nuts and bolts of consolidation, and discuss possible changes to Jacksonville's governance structure.

"It could be time to shake things up," says Crooks. "My hope is that this task force will take a very broad look at a range of things - everything from whether we need appointed to elected officials, whether the Beaches should be independent, and more. Everything should be on the table."