Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Public Vote on Delaney Plan Would Be Best in November

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Public Vote on Delaney Plan Would Be Best in November

Article excerpt

Some additional thoughts on Mayor John Delaney's Better Jacksonville Plan:

As the plan makes its way through the City Council this month, some council members may be tempted to propose major revisions. Too much tinkering probably would cause the plan to unravel.

However, there is one change that should be made. Delaney is insisting that the public vote on whether to approve the half-cent sales tax increase that would help finance the $2.2 billion plan be held during the September primary. The council should change that to the November general election.

The reasons to make the change are compelling.

First, the Sept. 5 primary comes the day after Labor Day. With summer vacations coming to an end and children getting back into the swing of school, people won't be focusing on the Better Jacksonville Plan.

Delaying the vote to November also would give people more time to study and digest the plan. Sept. 5 is only 2 1/2 months away and during much of that time people will be thinking about summer fun, not roads and drainage and new public buildings. If approved, the plan would commit a huge amount of public resources for up to 30 years. Such decisions should not be made hastily.

Also, the voter turnout in November, with the presidency on the line, will be much higher than in the September primary. A bruising primary fight for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Connie Mack may lure Republicans to the polls, but there will be little else on the ballot to excite Democrats or the 62,000 voters registered as independents or as members of minor parties.

If one truly wants a community consensus, the more people who vote on the sales tax increase and the plan, the better.

Delaney argues that he doesn't want the plan to get lost on a crowded November ballot. That's not giving much credit to Jacksonville's voters. …

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