• City Auditor John Hollister Jr. recommended that the City Council raise property taxes $5 per $1,000 of taxable value in 1964 to meet requirements for city operations.
Hollister made the statement as the Council Budget Committee, chaired by W.O. "Oscar" Mattox, began hearings on the proposed $98.5 million city budget for 1964.
He said he would "elaborate at a later date" on his recommendation for the 5-mill hike in ad valorem taxes, but said the increase would result in $1.4 million in increased revenue.
The city's general fund required 17.5 mills and there was an additional 1.9-mill levy for the city Recreation Department.
• This week in 1963, like this year, included Friday the 13th and some local notables weighed in with their thoughts on superstition.
"Sure I'm superstitious about lighting three (cigarettes) on a match, about walking under a ladder or letting a black cat walk in front of me. The only remedy I know is knocking on wood. Any time I run into anything that might get in my way, I knock on wood – three long knocks and two short knocks. I think it helps," said B.N. Nimnicht, owner and president of Riverside Chevrolet Co.
"I usually take precautions against the common ones. Not that I'm superstitious, but it's just as easy to walk around a ladder as it is to walk under one. I do go to the extent that if a black cat crosses me, I do look and in my looking hope to find a light spot on him. I give consideration to these old superstitions but I don't believe in them," said Duval County Judge Page Haddock.
City Commissioner Louis Ritter was at a loss to think of any superstitions he harbored. His wife, however, offered one possibility.
"I think he has a superstition about walking all the way around the car to open the door," she said.
• An application to build a highway bridge and a railroad span from the mainland to Blount Island was filed by the Jacksonville Port Authority with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Prepared by the engineering firm Register and Cummings, the application called for the two bridges to be located across the St. Johns River at a point just north of New Berlin Road, about one mile north of Dames Point.
The bridges, planned without draw or lift sections, would be 1,200 feet long and 12 feet above mean high water. The highway bridge would be 100 feet north of the railway span, according to the application.
The spans were planned in conjunction with the proposed development of Blount Island as an industrial area.
No public hearing was planned by the corps on the application, but the Jacksonville office would hear until Oct. 10 any protests to the effects on navigation.
• W. R. Lovett, president of Eastern Steamship Co., announced that the luxury cruise ship SS Ariadne would return to Jacksonville twice in spring 1964.
Three Eastern Steamship vessels already were departing regularly from Miami to the Caribbean and the Bahamas.
"It has always been my desire to establish a regular cruise operation out of my home city. I plan to give it a good try next spring," Lovett said.
The Jacksonville Convention and Visitors Bureau was conducting a study of the possibility of developing a cruise business as an additional attraction for convention groups.
• A small arsenal of weapons was seized by FBI agents in the home of a man suspected of a series of thefts from interstate shipments.
D.K. Brown, special agent in charge of the FBI district office, said agents arrested W. J. King of 1165 E. First St. on a charge of interstate theft at the time of the arms seizure.
Picked up by the FBI were a shotgun, two rifles, five handguns of various caliber, a machete, two hunting knives and several boxes of ammunition. Agents also seized a motion picture camera and a portable radio.
King was charged with having stolen the weapons and other merchandise from shipments handled by Central Truck Lines, where he had been employed for 18 years as a checker.
Brown said King was implicated in the same interstate theft ring that already had resulted in the arrest of three other men.
In August, the FBI arrested John Foy, Willie Hay and Emil Tubel, who were charged specifically with the theft of a case of chewing gum from the truck line.
Foy and Hay were employees of the company. Tubel was operator of the Jacksonville Cigar and Candy Co., a distributing company.
Brown said Foy's arrest followed his delivery of the stolen chewing gum to Tubel. He said the delivery was made in an automobile that belonged to King.
• The closing of the Acosta Bridge for construction of the Broad Street viaduct boosted revenues on Jacksonville's toll bridges by 15.6 percent compared to August 1962.
According to the State Road Department, 2,583,239 vehicles paid bridge tolls, amounting to $427,728 in revenue.
The heaviest traffic of the month was on the Fuller Warren Bridge, which was crossed by 1,320,946 vehicles, a 28.9 percent increase.
The Mathews Bridge was crossed by 979,639 toll-paying vehicles, a 6.3 percent increase over August 1962. A 2.9 percent increase was reported on the Trout River Bridge when 382,654 vehicles used the North Jacksonville span.
• Jacksonville Beach ended the first six months of 1963 with a surplus of $54,000, according to a formal, semiannual audit.
Council member Forrest Bryant, chairman of the Finance and Taxation Committee, said he was unable to discover in a search of city records if there had ever been a cash balance on hand in the general fund after the first half-year of operation.
Mayor William Wilson said the surplus was particularly noteworthy in view of the fact that the bulk of the city's income was received in the last six months of each calendar year.
Have you ever wondered what life was like in Jacksonville half a century ago? It was a different era of history, culture and politics but there are often parallels between the kind of stories that made headlines then and today. As interesting as the differences may be, so are the similarities. These are some of the top stories from this week in 1963. The items were compiled from the Jacksonville Public Library's periodical archives by Staff Writer Max Marbut.