Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sound off; Thoughts on Sale of JEA: Seriously?

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sound off; Thoughts on Sale of JEA: Seriously?

Article excerpt

The sale of the city's electric utility, JEA, is proposed like clockwork when a new generation of City Council members arrives.

But no serious action has been taken because the value to city government has been too great even in eras when electric rates were high.

Now City Councilman Matt Schellenberg has spurred a new look at the sale of JEA, contending that we should at least see what a sale would produce.

A review by the City Council auditor concluded that the utility would be worth more to the city than if it were owned by a private utility and then taxed. But Schellenberg is taking a deeper dive into the issue.

We asked members of the Times-Union's Email Interactive Group for their initial reactions.

A BASIC PRINCIPLE

Government should not be in any business which is or could be done by non-government businesses! That being the case, the city should get out of the business of providing power to its citizens.

Tom Burnett, Live Oak

EXPECT HIGHER RATES

I would still expect to see higher rates than we would otherwise have.

The higher rates would come from the company having to pay property taxes to the city, as well as to the School Board (which the current JEA does not have to do). On top of that, the investor owners of a private JEA would expect the company to make a profit for them, so that they would get a return on their investment. All together, higher rates would be the result.

I would oppose the city selling the utility.

Bob Rinker, Orange Park

THE GOLDEN GOOSE

JEA is a cash cow for the city and should continue in public hands. It helps maintain lower taxes. Regarding the needs of the public schools which are real, JEA should reduce rates for them proportionate to the amount of taxes they would pay if a private utility.

Jim Crooks, Jacksonville

DON'T SELL A MAJOR ASSET

The sale of JEA would be a mistake. It would create another big business consolidation and we all know how Too Big To Fail turned out.

The selling of America's assets is the answer to poor stewardship. This is a loss to one community in favor of another with only the business in the driver's seat, a public race to the bottom of ownership, control and competition. …

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