Dear OurJax Members,
Since the inception of OurJax in November 2019, we’ve called out failures to follow processes and taxpayer protections, along with an absence of transparency in serious government proposals like the attempt to sell JEA and develop Lot J.
OurJax believes we also have a responsibility to recognize when decisions are made and policy is fashioned in the open, involves community engagement, and is more transparent.
The City Council is currently considering whether or not to support a proposal by Mayor Lenny Curry to increase the local option gas tax by six cents to pay for almost $1 billion in infrastructure improvements and the repurposing of the Skyway by JTA. Like many members of the community, OurJax understands
the city needs new revenue to fix worn out roads and bridges, build sidewalks, and prepare Jacksonville for the future.
We also recognize the process will only work if people are engaged. OurJax believes that is happening with this proposal, and it is a step in the right direction.
Since 2014 local citizens have been trying to find funds to develop the Emerald Trail by 2029. It is an important grassroots priority.
The Emerald Trail is a transformational project that will encompass some 30 miles of trails, greenways, and parks that will encircle downtown Jacksonville and link 14 historic neighborhoods, Hogans Creek, McCoys Creek, and the St. Johns River. Led by Groundworks, a non-profit organization, the Emerald Trail has engaged neighborhood stakeholders, business leaders, and the City.
Now, City Councilman Matt Carlucci has proposed that $150 million of the gas tax funds initially designated for the Skyway conversion be diverted to pay for the Emerald Trail. Mayor Lenny Curry and City Council President Tommy Hazouri are reported to be supporting Carlucci’s proposal, which he will introduce as an amendment to the gas tax bill at a City Council Committee Meeting of the Whole this Wednesday.
OurJax believes this is a sign that key city officials are listening to members of the community. We recognize this is a constructive move and a significant change. OurJax encourages you to contact members of the City Council and the Mayor and let them know you appreciate this community engagement.
Thank you for believing in Jacksonville!