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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Aug. 22, 201707:00 AM EST

Voting changes, JSO funds, fire museum on agenda for council

Public comments expected on plans to move Confederate monuments in city.
by: David Cawton Associate Editor

More blue public comment cards than usual could be handed in at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

Days after a violent protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, Council President Anna Lopez Brosche announced Aug. 14 she would draft legislation to inventory Confederate monuments and possibly relocate those from city property.

Based on previous public comments at council meetings on the topic, Tuesday’s meeting could see many more.

No official legislation had been filed as of Monday afternoon.

The council meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. at City Hall.

Monuments aside, there are 26 pages of agenda items to address.

Rezoning ordinances, possible changes to voting precinct boundaries and funding for Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office prevention programs are among the other issues up for review.

Voter changes

Ordinance 2017-520 would move some people from voting Precinct 201 to Precinct 210, both along Heckscher Drive in North Jacksonville.

According to the legislative summary, the bill would relocate 1,000 voters to Precinct 210 to reduce wait times and provide a better balance of numbers because that precinct has the lowest number of registered voters, according to the Duval County Supervisor of Elections.

The boundary adjustment was requested by members of the Heckscher Drive community.

JSO funding

Up for a vote will be $144,500 to fund some Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office programs.  

The funding includes $3,000 to repay the Orange County Sheriff’s Office for JSO’s participation in a conference earlier this year; $15,000 to Fresh Ministries Inc.; $10,000 for Operation Save Our Sons; $25,000 to the Police Athletic League of Jacksonville Inc.; $85,000 for First Coast Crime Stoppers Inc.; $500 for the Florida Sheriff’s Youth Ranch; and $6,000 for Pit Sisters Inc., a program that allows inmates to train dogs for adoption.

Sheriff Mike Williams said the programs are funded through auctioning assets the office receives from criminal forfeitures.

Fire museum rehab

At the request of the mayor’s office, $147,276 is sought to continue the rehabilitation of the Jacksonville Fire Museum near Metropolitan Park.

The money will be used to correct structural issues at the museum, which would reopen if a proposed redevelopment of the riverfront property moves ahead.

Term limits bill returns

Speakers also can weigh in on Ordinance 2017-378, also known as the term limits bill.

Council member Matt Schellenberg’s attempt to extend the current two-term provision for certain elected officials to three terms resulted in a two-hour discussion at the July 25 council meeting. The bill was deferred.

The issue could be placed on a 2018 ballot for the public to decide.

Historic landmark

Ordinance 2017-436 would designate a portion of the former YWCA building, most recently used by Community Connections, as a historic landmark.

Developer Mike Balanky wants to transform the property in the Downtown Cathedral District into a mixed-use development with market-rate apartments and retail space.

The Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission approved the designation in June. The address is 327 E. Duval St.

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