Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

School Projects Funding Has Council Members at Odds

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

School Projects Funding Has Council Members at Odds

Article excerpt

Every elementary school should be so lucky.

Chets Creek Elementary has the honor of two Jacksonville City Council members fighting over who will give the school money for a pavilion and jogging track -- and both representatives are pitching in.

Councilwoman Suzanne Jenkins, who represents the school now, and council President Jerry Holland, who would represent the school if he is re-elected next spring, both sat down with school officials about funding park improvements.

Holland agreed to pay $25,000 for playground improvements and Jenkins pledged $50,000 for a jogging track and pavilion.

Jenkins then became furious when she read in Holland's newsletter, which was sent to some of Jenkins' constituents, that bond money from Holland's district was being used for the track and pavilion.

She fired off a letter to Holland demanding an explanation, saying she was irate that he would try to take credit for money she allocated.

Holland replied, saying that costs came in higher than anticipated and he pitched in an additional $40,000 to fill the void.

In his letter, Holland suggested Jenkins check on the project, adding that, "in the future, if you would do so it might save you the embarrassment of being misinformed and incorrect with your accusations."

Jenkins responded with another letter and a dozen pages of documentation from the school showing that everything she heard from the school showed the project was on budget.

"I question your decision to send your self-glorifying newsletter to my constituents," Jenkins said. "I would never dream of doing that to one of my colleagues."

The two elected officials have had a strained relationship since Holland defeated Jenkins for the council presidency in May.

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