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Jax Daily Record Monday, Feb. 22, 201612:00 PM EST

50 years ago: Error puts city property tax revenue at $293M, though it should have been about $6M

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by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

In the 1966 edition of the Municipal Yearbook, Jacksonville’s ad valorem tax revenue was reported to be $293 million.

Somebody goofed, but nobody was saying who.

In getting a few numbers together about the city’s financial condition, the error came when figures for assessable property values instead of actual tax collections were used.

The 1966 tax levy was being calculated and would not be official until June, but the estimate was about $6 million, less early payment discounts.

Discovery of the error in the yearbook came when City Council members met with Mayor Lou Ritter to review council’s allegation they were poorly treated in the publication.

After the meeting, Ritter announced the council members’ complaints about being shoved to page 38, misspelled names, lack of pertinent council information and uncomplimentary pictures would be resolved.

“The printer has agreed to change the page at no cost to the city,” Ritter said, adding he had nothing to do with the printing of the yearbook in the first place.

The 16,000 copies of the yearbook cost the city just under $11,000. Fortunately, only 3,000 copies had been bound and sent to City Hall for distribution.

Those would be returned to the printer, Drummond Press, and would be re-bound with the corrected pages.

The incorrect data on the taxes remained a puzzle.

Ritter said Dan Crisp, of the advertising agency Crisp and Harrison, which edited the book, said the error would be corrected.

• Duval County juvenile authorities investigated a mother’s charge that her 13-year-old son was detained for four days without her being notified.

Mrs. Frank Julian, of 7435 Bamberg Road, said when her son disappeared, she reported his absence to the Duval County Patrol and the Florida Highway Patrol.

The search ended four days later after the Civil Air Patrol spent 150 hours looking for the child in the Arlington area.

All they found was his bicycle.

He was not discovered until a call was made by searchers to the juvenile authorities.

The youth was picked up by the county patrol on suspicion of shoplifting and placed in the shelter for investigation.

The mix-up occurred because the boy had given an incorrect phone number and address. There also was confusion because his legal name was different from his mother’s due to a second marriage.

Juvenile Court Judge Lamar Winegeart said a counselor of the court tried to reach the family the morning after the child was detained, but no one responded. The records showed officials tried to contact his parents at 6:20 p.m. the day the boy was taken into custody.

Julian said she was never contacted.

• In his 16 years with the Jacksonville Police Department, Lt. Al Kline Jr. had not shot a man as of this week in 1966.

Nonetheless, his proficiency with the pistol earned him the reputation as “the fastest gun on the force.”

As chief range officer and firearms instructor, Kline developed and conducted the department’s training program in weapons and defense for recruits and veteran personnel.

He collected more than 300 trophies and 100 medals in statewide, regional and national shooting competitions.

Kline was the only civilian in North Florida to earn the Army’s gold distinguished marksman medal, which was awarded through an act of Congress to the high scorer in national competition.

He also held the National Rifle Association’s Lifetime Master shooting rank, which he won in 1956 by firing 91 percent accuracy in three consecutive timed rapid-fire matches comprising 380 rounds.

Kline’s shooting accuracy consistently ranked in the high 90s, or better than nine out of 10 targets he aimed at. Police officers 50 years ago were required to maintain a 70 percent accuracy average.

To maintain the average, officers had an annual eight-hour refresher course in the use of the standard .38-caliber police pistol, as well as practice with shotguns, machine guns, grenades and tear gas.

Kline taught those subjects as well as self-defense skills, such as judo and the use of the police club.

He was a frequent speaker at local civic clubs, where he often was asked to demonstrate the proper use of weapons, their maintenance and the rules of good shooting.

Kline also conducted the annual post-Christmas firearms safety classes sponsored by the Jaycees.

• It was reported that women were not welcome on local golf courses on weekends or holidays.

“I’ve had more than one man tell me I should be home cleaning the house,” said Madelyn Miller, president of the women’s association at Brentwood Golf Club.

“They say it with a friendly smile,” she said. “But deep down in their hearts, they really mean it.”

Miller, who lived in Arlington, admitted she agreed the men should have the golf course to themselves on weekends and holidays because they had jobs.

“They can’t play on weekdays while most women can.” She said.

“I’d like to see a public course somewhere in the Arlington area. It’s a long way to Pine Tree (in Cedar Hills) and Jacksonville Beach. I go to Brentwood because it’s expressway just about all the way,” she added.

Minnie Ponsell said she never played on weekends because of the crowded conditions.

And with her 12 handicap, she was the envy of many golfers of the opposite sex.

“I started playing in 1961 and the courses are becoming more and more crowded each year,” she said. “You really can’t blame the men for wanting it for themselves on the weekends.”

City and county officials were conducting a study on the feasibility of opening more municipal courses.

• A bill before City Council that would impose stiff fines for leaving unoccupied buildings unlocked drew opposition from real estate operators and property managers.

Charges of political harassment and chicanery were hurled in a statement opposing the legislation at a meeting of the Laws and Rules Committee.

The bill was introduced Feb. 3 under the sponsorship of Fire Marshal C.D. Banks “to prevent unauthorized persons from entering” abandoned buildings.

The proposed ordinance required any building abandoned or unoccupied for 30 days be locked or sealed against unauthorized entry. After 30 days, if the building was found by the fire marshal to be unsecured, the owner or agent would be notified. If the building was not locked within 30 days of the notice, a fine of $25-$250 could be levied for each day the violation continued.

Ralph Lyle, who was in the real estate business, charged that Banks was not the true sponsor of the bill, but when asked by council member R.B. Burroughs to identify the actual sponsor, Lyle refused.

He claimed the real intent of the bill was to allow the city to seize property and then condemn it as a means of slum removal.

• The Duval-Nassau Junior College Advisory Committee delayed for at least three weeks any recommendation on where to locate the campus of Florida Junior College at Jacksonville.

The committee also deferred a decision on whether the two-year college should have one large campus or possibly as many as three campuses.

The college was due to open in the fall in temporary quarters in the unoccupied Southside Elementary School on Flagler Street.

At a committee meetings in the Wilmington Room at the Atlantic Coast Line Building, an additional site of 140 acres in North Jacksonville was offered by Henry Rogers, on behalf of himself and the tract’s other owners.

It was about a half-mile west of U.S. 17 and about 1 mile north of Dunn Avenue. It previously had been listed as being for sale.

Other free sites discussed, on which no action was taken, were the Hodges-Brest property near the Beaches, the Cumberland housing tract off Roosevelt Boulevard, a site owned by West Jax Land Co. near Whitehouse and a site along Beach Boulevard at Huffman Road.

Warren Hendry, chairman of the Educational Task Force of the Downtown Council of the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce, urged adoption of a Downtown site.

It was bordered by Broad, Eighth, Laura and State streets, with the federal government providing assistance through urban renewal grants.

Bernard Johann, a committee member from Nassau County, made a motion to defer action. He called for a thorough study of such factors as population and growth trends, estimated enrollment from 1966-2000, proposed roads and expressways and projected residential patterns.

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