Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Council Guest Puts Money Behind Plan

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Council Guest Puts Money Behind Plan

Article excerpt

Voters won't decide the fate of the Better Jacksonville Plan for nearly two months, but City Hall already has its first taxpayer money to get the plan started. And a thank-you note went in the mail to the guy who paid it.

Derrick Morris handed $100 to a City Council employee during the council's Tuesday meeting and said he wanted it put toward Mayor John Delaney's $2.2 billion campaign to improve roads, build public buildings downtown and finance environmental and recereation projects.

"I think it's a great plan," said Morris, a recurring council visitor who said he earns $10,000 to $15,000 per year doing yardwork. He said he could afford the half-penny sales tax hike the plan entails, and said it would be good for the city long-term.

"I'm happy to pay the tax," he said.

Unsure how to handle the gift, the council asked Assistant Council Auditor Richard Wallace, who suggested putting it in an account until a Sept. 5 referendum on the tax hike.

If the plan passes, the money will be moved into the same account as the sales tax revenue. If it doesn't, Morris will get his money back, council employee Kathleen Roberts promised in a note Wednesday.

UNION CHALLENGE: A would-be union for City Hall employees has asked state labor officials to let employees vote on which group should represent them in labor talks.

The Professional Association of City Employees, a start-up group challenging the local leaders of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, submitted petitions for a new election July 3 to the Public Employees Relations Commission, a state panel that regulates union bargaining with government agencies.

PACE collected signatures from about 40 percent of the 3,000 employees it wants to represent, said Jack Daniels, head of a School Board union who is sitting as temporary president of PACE. …

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