District 6 City Councilman Michael Boylan City Council wants to put the brakes on what some see as a headlong rush to rewrite JEA’s future.
Sixteen companies have submitted bids to buy part or all of JEA, although only a handful of top officials know who those bidders are.
The Jacksonville City Council and Duval County voters will have the final say on any deal to sell the city owned utility.
Boylan told WJCT News he needs a lot more information before he can decide whether or not to privatize JEA.
He is supporting a city audit of the utility’s finances to determine its current worth. He also wants to hire outside legal counsel and other experts to provide perspective and to hold public workshops throughout the fact-finding process.
“This is not acrimonious. I want this to be an information gathering opportunity for the council — not only for the council but obviously for the general public too so they too can be witness to the learning we garner during this time.”
Boylan said he also wants JEA to be an active participant in the decision making phase.
At-large City Councilman Matt Carlucci also favors hitting the reset button where JEA is concerned.
“We’re playing catch-up right now, [to] tell you the truth. But, you know, when you look at the communications that have gone out, it’s almost like the people receiving those communications, either through the bill — there’s a flier in there. I mean when you read that thing, it makes us sound like they’re just heading to privatization so just get ready. And I don’t think we’re close to making that kind of decision yet.”
Carlucci said while he favors keeping JEA city-owned, he sees the value in gathering as much information as he can about the utility before the privatization issue comes up for a vote.
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story said Councilman Boylan had proposed the audit. While he supports the audit, Boylan pointed out that the idea didn't originate with him.