Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Counties Wary of JEA Rates in Pension Proposal; Elected Officials in Region Not Comforted by Mayor's Plan

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Counties Wary of JEA Rates in Pension Proposal; Elected Officials in Region Not Comforted by Mayor's Plan

Article excerpt

Byline: Nate Monroe

Elected officials outside Duval County are taking notice of Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown's proposal that JEA boost its contribution to help solve the city's pension woes.

With talk that such a move might force JEA to increase its rates, commissioners and council members in Northeast Florida who represent areas that also use JEA services are paying close attention to the pension debate unfolding in City Hall.

Brown's proposal does not call for - and he insists it would not require - JEA to raise rates to help the city with its pension problem, but that hasn't comforted some local officials.

"It's really not fair if our residents are paying the City of Jacksonville's bills," Orange Park Town Mayor Jim Renninger said. "We have bills, too."

The Nassau County Commission decided last week it will send a letter of opposition to Brown and the JEA board.

Officials in St. Johns and Clay Counties have not yet taken action, but the issue is on their radar.

"We're ... actively monitoring the situation on behalf of the residents and businesses of St. Johns County who are JEA customers," said Michael Ryan, St. Johns County's communications manager, in an email. "We are also reviewing the responsive activities of our neighboring communities with great interest and will act accordingly should the issue progress to a level that would warrant our time and attention."

JEA is owned by the city of Jacksonville and provides electric, water and sewer service throughout Duval County. The utility also has thousands of customers in Nassau, Clay and St. Johns counties as well as the Town of Orange Park, which is in Clay.

In St. Johns, JEA services 30,747 homes and businesses for water, 20,711 for sewer and 14,680 for electric.

In Clay, JEA services 3,393 homes and businesses for water, 3,139 for sewer and 58 for electric. …

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