Jacksonville Civic Council

Tuesday on First Coast Connect we spoke with former CSX CEO Michael Ward who is co-chair of a Jacksonville Civic Council committee looking into the possible sale of JEA (01:06).

Renay Daigle from Daigle Creative and Delores Barr Weaver told us about the Connectable Campaign (32:03).

John November, Executive Director and General Counsel for The Public Trust Environmental Legal Institute of Florida, talked about Tuesday’s Jacksonville Tree Symposium (46:00).

The Haskell Company

As Mayor Alvin Brown called on the Jacksonville City Council to pass his proposed pension reform legislation last week, the city's most influential corporate and civic group came out against the plan.

Jacksonville Civic Council

The Jacksonville Civic Council is tackling the city’s most pressing issues, from pension reform to downtown development, in order to bring business advice and perspective to public policies.

Council executive director Jeanne Miller said the future of the First Coast looks bright because of those efforts.

The group, formed in 2010, is composed of about 65 local CEO’s who have been extraordinarily successful in their careers, building businesses and giving back to the community. Together, they employ more than 10,000 people in Jacksonville.

A group of prominent local business leaders is urging the city to borrow up to $1 billion and put that money into the Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund as a way to solve the city’s pension crisis.

The Jacksonville Civic Council says that would make it easier to pay pension benefits over the long term.

This strategy would almost certainly require a tax increase, but the members of the council say tough and painful choices must be made to dig out of the pension hole and put the city on a firm financial footing.

Kevin Meerschaert

Faced with a $64 million deficit, Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown's budget could propose closing two fire stations and six libraries, and slashing funding for many programs including Legal Aid and Animal Control.

However, there is one caveat the Mayor will almost certainly bring up to the City Council: the vast majority of these proposed cuts can be avoided if it approves his pension reform plan.

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office

After being asked by Mayor Alvin Brown to find $29 million in spending cuts for the coming year Sheriff John Rutherford instead has proposed a budget with far fewer cuts saying he couldn't make such reductions without endangering the safety of the public.

Rutherford says instead the city council needs to pass Mayor Brown's pension reform plan and approve a small property tax increase.