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Jax Daily Record Monday, Aug. 26, 201905:10 AM EST

Q&A: Joshua Garrison will be NEFBA’s voice with lawmakers

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Miranda Contracting co-owner says the top issue for builders is the increasing cost of homes.
by: Scott Sailer Staff Writer

Joshua Garrison, second vice president of the 1,283-member Northeast Florida Builders Association, will become chairman of NEFBA government affairs near year-end. He talks about the importance of that role:

What is the purpose of NEFBA Government Affairs? Our purpose is to advocate for the men and women of the building industry by letting elected officials and state and local governments know the impact of local laws and policies.

What is NEFBA’s top government affairs issue? Our top issue is the increasing cost of new homes and commercial buildings because a lack of affordability can harm residents and businesses. Without our advocacy, a small-business owner may be unable to lease that first storefront. Those who want that first home may not be able to afford it. Many think that added impact and mobility fees simply affect the bottom line of our industry, but actually, these fees add to the price paid by the homebuyer and business property owner.

What are the other top issues? Growth stoppage and stagnation are our next primary issues. For example, the government may threaten a moratorium on land development, may slow the approval process or may become overly burdensome in its inspections — important as they may be. New issues appear weekly and can arise on any municipal, county, state or federal level.

How do those issues affect the Northeast Florida business community? NEFBA issues are the issues of all those who want economic growth and prosperity in our region. We are a catalyst for responsible growth in Northeast Florida. The chambers of commerce and government agencies work hard to bring new business to our region. NEFBA members are the “boots on the ground,” implementing that growth throughout the community. We do this by selecting property, then by entitling and building projects that improve the economic base. If NEFBA has an issue, Northeast Florida economic growth has an issue.

What is NEFBA’s strategy to address those issues? We communicate with the decision-makers—from elected officials to planning and engineering staff. We build relationships. We voice approval and show support for good measures. We voice concern and opposition against measures that would damage good development. We work with government to ensure processes remain fair for all stakeholders.

What is your background?  I am a lifelong resident of Duval County and have co-owned Miranda Contracting LLC for seven years, providing site and utility construction services to land developers, general contractors and government. I serve on the Jacksonville Planning Commission. I attended the University of North Florida and have a degree in communications and an MBA, and I earned a Masters in International Affairs Management at European Business School Paris.

What has been the biggest government change that affected your business? The 2015 pivot of the city of Jacksonville under Mayor Lenny Curry to a pro-growth and pro-business culture is the biggest government change that affected my business. We had changes of departments heads. We, as a city,  solved the pension crisis. We are experiencing true Downtown activation. All of this plays a vital role in driving continued land development and economic growth throughout our region.

What do you see as the next big issue? I see the growth in Clay County as our next big issue, which is good. With the building of the First Coast Expressway and the announcement of Governors Park and other developments of regional impact, the area is poised for growth. I believe that having an efficient and pro-development Clay County government is of the utmost importance.

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