Council Debates Small-Business Role; Panel Seeks Consensus on Proposal That Erases Percentage Goals for Minority-Owned Firms

Article excerpt

Byline: MATT GALNOR, The Times-Union

The Jacksonville City Council debated well into Thursday night, trying to reach consensus on a new program that would set aside city work for small businesses.

The proposal supported by Mayor John Peyton would, over three years, eliminate the current city policy that sets percentage goals for the amount of work minority-owned businesses receive. The proposal would immediately eliminate the goals for women-owned businesses, which some council members say they'll work to change.

The council spent Thursday's special workshop hearing from about two dozen citizens, then methodically combing section by section through the 112-page bill.

Three council committees will meet again Wednesday, and council President Lad Daniels hopes any changes will be agreed upon then. Daniels wants to get the proposal approved on June 22, his last meeting as council president before Vice President Elaine Brown takes over July 1.

Other concerns include:

-- Lowering the maximum net worth of a small business owner from $750,000 not including a personal residence, to $450,000 including the owner's equity in a home. …