Jacksonville City Council

City Council Approves $541,000, More Kids Can Go To Camp

Jun 26, 2015
Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

More than a 1,000 Duval County kids will be able to go to camp this summer thanks to $541,000 the Jacksonville City Council approved Tuesday.

To celebrate, children from about 20 different summer camps were at Randolph Heritage Park for a field day Friday morning.

Jacksonville City Hall, St. James Building
Ray Hollister / WJCT News

The Jacksonville City Council met for the last time Tuesday before newly-elected members take their seats July 1.

Mary McIntyre / WJCT News

The Jacksonville City Council is set to vote this week whether city residents can keep chickens on their property permanently.

The ordinance would extend a temporary pilot program.

As a new Jacksonville City Council prepares to convene for the first time this month, there is renewed controversy over the issue of sectarian prayer at Council meetings. Over the years, meetings have often, but not always, began with an invocation of Christian prayer. Activists have long held this violates the Constitution and have called for either a moment of silence or a more inclusive prayer tradition to recognize those of other faiths or no faith living in Duval County.

Opposition is growing around the state after the Jacksonville City Council last week passed a moratorium designed to block any operation connected to the low potency strain of medical marijuana known as Charlotte’s Web. Florida families who have children with cancer and epilepsy are advocating the legalization of low-THC marijuana to treat their kids. The Florida Department of Health began accepting applications for low-THC cultivation businesses last week. There will be only five licenses approved, one for each of five different geographic locations in the state.

Lee Cannon / Flickr

The Jacksonville City Council is trying to figure out what to do with the city’s vacant homes because Jacksonville has a lot of them.

At a home on Jacksonville's Northside, the grass is so overgrown it’s hard to tell where the driveway was. The house has been vacant since at least 2010, and it’s not the only vacant home on the street.

It’s what’s called a zombie foreclosure. The owners are told their home is going into foreclosure, so they move out. But then, sometimes years later, the bank decides they don’t want the home.

We discuss the week's biggest news stories with our roundtable of local journalists: Andrew Pantazi, Florida Times-Union reporter; Fred Matthews, Examiner blogger; A.G. Gancarski, Folio Weekly and Florida Politics columnist.

Topics include outgoing Mayor Alvin Brown's legacy, Mayor-elect Lenny Curry's transition, the issues facing the new City Council and more.

We also roundup the strange, bizarre and just plain ridiculous news from across the Sunshine State in our Only in Florida segment.

Gregory Todaro / WJCT News

Jacksonville’s next City Councilors have chosen who will lead them.

On Wednesday, the future council unanimously approved Greg Anderson and Lori Boyer as President and Vice President respectively.

Council President-elect Anderson says his top priorities are pension reform and public safety.

“We’ve got to make sure all of our neighborhoods are safe,” he said. “Really what that means is making sure that the new sheriff has the resources available and that he’s deploying them in a way that he feels like he’s catching up on some of the crime.”

We discuss the week's biggest news stories with our roundtable of local journalists: Mark Woods, Florida Times-Union reporter; Fred Matthews, Examiner blogger; and Tim Gibbons, Jacksonville Business Journal editor.

Topics include Lenny Curry defeating incumbent Mayor Alvin Brown in Tuesday's runoff election, the results of the sheriff's and City Council races, and more.

You can subscribe to the First Coast Connect podcast in iTunes.  

Saphara Harrell / WJCT News

The City of Jacksonville has $50 million more than previously believed, according to a recent audit. Jacksonville City Councilwoman Lori Boyer says the newly freed-up money is the result of more than a decade’s worth of accounting errors.

Wednesday at City Hall, Boyer said more than $500 million had been incorrectly accounted for.

But she says the funds were not spent inappropriately.  


Jacksonville residents will have a chance to hear directly from the candidates running to represent them on the City Council.

On Monday, April 20, the Jacksonville Public Library Board of Library Trustees and the League of Women Voters of Jacksonville First Coast are hosting debates and candidate meet-and-greets at four library locations.

The debates will be moderated by Melissa Ross and Karen Feagins of WJCT, Frank Denton, Florida Times-Union editor, and Ken Amaro of First Coast News. WJCT is a sponsor of the debates.

Melissa Hillier / Flickr

The Jacksonville Public Library wants residents to submit their questions for City Council candidates. Debates are planned at four area libraries April 20 for candidates who advance to the General Election.

It’s one month until primary election day in Jacksonville, but voting is already underway.

Duval County Elections Supervisor Jerry Holland says absentee ballots are already flowing into his office. 

As of Tuesday, Holland said the elections office had received more than 3,000 votes in the March 24 primary election. As of Thursday afternoon, that number has climbed above 6,000,

“We’re looking for something like a 35 percent turnout which is really going to be disappointing, but that’s kind of what the past predicts,” Holland said.

Tiffany Manning / Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville

The Jacksonville City Council has approved plans aimed at drawing businesses and visitors Downtown. Yesterday, the Council voted 16-to-1 to set aside $2.5 million for the Downtown Investment Authority. A large chunk of that money is for public art.

City of Jacksonville

This month’s Liberty Street collapse in Downtown Jacksonville is raising the question of whether the city knew the street was faulty or badly damaged after another collapse on the same street in 2012. The city is suing the owner of a crane that was on Liberty Street when it caved in three years ago.

Nichos / Wikipedia

The Jacksonville City Council has passed a pension reform package in an effort to reduce the city’s deficit of more than $1.6 billion. Three council members voted against the bill, while 16 voted for it despite many of them expressing reservations.

Just after the vote Tuesday evening, council member Bill Gulliford said the measure goes a small way toward reducing debt, but the council still has its work cut out for it going forward.

Controversial art and tweets, JTA and a fire that destroyed a historic building are all in the headlines today.

Rick Scott for Florida

The results of election 2014 and Jacksonville's pension are making headlines this week.

Wikimedia Commons

The interfaith group OneJax held the latest in their Civil Discourse discussion series last week about an issue that will most likely play a role in Jacksonville's mayoral and City Council elections: the city's human rights ordinance.


The 2014 Florida governor's race and Jacksonville's pension are making headlines this week.

Michael Dunn in court.

Michael Dunn, former Atlantic Beach police chief Michael Classey and ridesharing services are making headlines this week.

Keith Allison / Flickr

Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan issued a statement Thursday condemning former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for domestic abuse against his fiancé. The shocking violence was recorded on an elevator video camera.

City of Jacksonville

The Jacksonville City Council will begin reviewing next year’s proposed city budget Tuesday night.

Jax Truckies / Facebook

In a closely watched issue for local food truck owners and fans, drafted legislation for Jacksonville’s food truck ordinance will go before City Council committees this week.

Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT

Supporters of a straw ballot measure to take library funding decisions away from the Jacksonville city council by creating a special independent taxing district held a rally Tuesday morning in front of the public library downtown.

Bubba73 / Wikimedia Commons

Plans to widen the Fuller Warren Bridge now include other improvements designed to make it more people-friendly. Jacksonville City Councilman Robin Lumb unveiled the revised plans Wednesday afternoon.

Marriage equality, EverBank Field and property taxes are in the headlines today.

Luís Vieira / Flickr

Jacksonville is struggling with a two-month citywide crime wave that’s been averaging one shooting a day and a murder every other day.

Patrick Donges / WJCT

Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown has unveiled his proposed budget for the next fiscal year —one he says will help the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office hire more officers, redevelop the Jacksonville Landing and beef up the city’s library system.

Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT

Mayor Alvin Brown unveiled a budget proposal for next year that he says won’t require any new taxes.