Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Council Wants Leash on `Gorilla'

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Council Wants Leash on `Gorilla'

Article excerpt

Some City Council members are concerned that the city's new

"300-pound gorilla," as the new Jacksonville Economic

Development Commission has been dubbed, will run loose.

Council members would like to hold the key to the cage, and it

looks as if they will.

"This commission will have a lot of authority," City Councilman

Don Davis said yesterday after the sevenmember group met.

"Taxpayers might feel a little more comfortable if their council

members had some oversight," he said.

At issue is the legislation that will establish the commission

as the county's Community Redevelopment Agency and Industrial

Development Authority.

The proposed legislation is now under review by three council

committees and is expected to reach the full council Dec. 10.

As the designated redevelopment agency and industrial

authority, it will absorb the powers of the Downtown Development

Authority, the Sports Development Authority, the Jacksonville

International Airport Community Redevelopment Agency and more.

City Council is taking a serious look at the legislation and

will hold hearings before making recommendations to the Duval

delegation about whether to change the bill.

The delegation also is reviewing the legislation and plans a

public hearing on Jan. 11.

While the council can recommend changes, only the delegation

can determine the final version of the bill that goes to the

state Legislature in the spring, said commission chairman Tom

Petway.

City Council members have voiced three major concerns, Davis

said.

Mayor John Delaney wants the authority to appoint commission

members, but some council members want confirmation power. That

issue appears to be the most contentious and will be debated in

the coming weeks.

Davis said he would vote for council to have the power to

confirm the appointments, although he said he had not been too

concerned about it. Still, he said, "everybody needs a little

bit of oversight."

Petway has reserved his comments about the issue.

Delaney has said earlier that he wouldn't stand in the way if

council members wanted the right to confirm or deny his

appointments to the commission. …

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