Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry says he’s thrilled with nearly $1.9 million dollars in state funding the Legislature approved for Jacksonville. He says the city’s top priorities are being funded.
Curry campaigned on public safety and neighborhood improvement, which is why he says the recent state appropriations are a win.
The budget includes a quarter-million dollars to hire more police officers. The state money will help Jacksonville pay a local match required for its federal Community Oriented Policing Services grant. Curry says the money will allow the city to hire, train and deploy 15 new officers.
“Starting in July, we will have seasoned officers assigned to implement violent-crime-prevention solutions in data-driven, problem-oriented policing strategies in areas of town plagued with violence,” he says.
The Jacksonville Re-Entry Center will receive $900,000. The program assists felons entering back into society. JREC estimates 450 additional ex-offenders will be provided services, Curry says.
A little more than $200,000 will be used for designing and permitting a storm water detention facility. The city will have to additionally fund it, as the price tag of construction is $1.6 million. He says it’s both a water-quality and flood-control project.
And a half-million dollars will go toward replacing the Moncrief-Dinsmore Bridge on the Northside.
“When you talk about roads in vulnerable neighborhoods, if the roads aren’t as they’re supposed to be, that impedes economic development,” Curry says. “That impedes people’s ability to get a job. It impedes businesses growing in that neighborhood.”
Curry says the city received 90 percent of the funding it asked for.
Rep. Mia Jones (D-Jacksonville) says she and her fellow Duval lawmakers also brought home millions of dollars for the city’s colleges: more than $11 million for the University of North Florida, more than $4 million for Edward Waters College and $2 million for Florida State College at Jacksonville’s nursing program.
“What we try to do is to make sure that we had an opportunity to positively impact the quality of life in Jacksonville,” she says.
But Sen. Aaron Bean (R-Fernandina Beach) says Scott did veto a project on his wishlist: $1 million for the St. Johns River Ferry.
“Your Duval delegation has argued for a long time that that ferry is a continuation of a State Road A1A that just happens to cross a river, and we think it’s well worth the investment of capital improvements,” he says.
Overall Bean agrees with Curry, though, this was a good legislative session for Jacksonville.