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Guest Series: Mayor Alvin Brown

Metro Jacksonville consistently offers the opportunity for our readers to absorb the editorials, personal accounts, and vocal opinions of some of the key players in the decision making process of our community. This week, Mayor Alvin Brown explains why public-private partnerships are an important method to grow the city in lean economic times.

Published July 12, 2012 in News      16 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


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Building partnerships for our city’s future

Jacksonville is a city on the move. In just the past year, our city has enjoyed progress in many areas that are helping me stay focused on my administration’s goals to grow jobs, strengthen our education system and enhance our quality of life.

We owe much of our success in the past year to public-private partnerships that are building programs to enhance our parks, revitalize our Downtown and raise a stronger generation of leaders to compete in the 21st Century global economy.

I encourage everyone in Jacksonville to think about innovation and public-private partnership as a solution to leverage a greater return from our tax dollars and reduce the size of government while expanding the scope of service.

Already, my administration’s partnerships have grown the city’s school-based mentoring ranks by 600 new highly qualified volunteers. We’ve partnered with the Sierra Club Northeast Florida Group and SORBA Jax, a local affiliate of the Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association, to increase the quality of the experience on our hiking and bicycle trails. We’ve unveiled more than $7 million in commitments from the Jacksonville Jaguars, Florida Blue, Wells Fargo, CSX, Terrell Hogan and Farah & Farah to benefit veterans, education, Downtown revitalization and neighborhood stabilization.

This is exactly what I had in mind when I created Jacksonville’s first ever Office of Public-Private Partnerships and staffed it with an executive-on-loan from Florida Blue, Renee Finley. The executive-on-loan agreement costs taxpayers just $1 a year. That’s just $1 a year for someone focused 100 percent on building relationships, developing new funding sources and exploring ways to optimize use of publicly owned real estate. So far, the results have been incredibly positive.

Public-private partnerships are helping to push the needle forward at a time money is tight all around and we, as a city government, must learn to do more with less. My goal is increased service at reduced taxpayer cost. That’s why it was an honor to be recognized at a Bloomberg Philanthropies event in April for using executive-on-loan staffing as an innovation in government.

I encourage everyone to think about public-private partnership to build Jacksonville’s future. You don’t have to have $1 million dollars to make a difference. The simple act of volunteering at a St. Johns River cleanup or at a local homeless shelter embodies that same spirit that we’re seeing in the form of financial donations and service commitments. Public-private partnership is about everyone pitching in to put Jacksonville first.

As I look back on my first year in office, public-private partnership is an area that I know will help to set a more positive tone for our city moving forward.

We have a lot going for us in Jacksonville. When I was sworn into office on July 1, 2011, Jacksonville’s unemployment rate was 11.2 percent. In just the past year, that’s come down nearly three percentage points to 8.4 percent. We’re seeing good-paying, career-driven opportunities come on line at companies like Saft, Medtronic, Web.com, GE Capital, National Healing Corp. and Kaman Aerospace.

Through a lot of hard work and dedication from my administration, City Hall and Gov. Rick Scott, we convinced BI-LO Holdings to move from South Carolina to combine corporate headquarters with Winn-Dixie in Jacksonville – a move that’s bringing 100 new high wage jobs and preserving nearly 900 more.

Business isn’t the only thing growing in Jacksonville. In 2013, the USS New York is scheduled to relocate from Norfolk, Va., to Mayport as part of a fleet buildup that will be followed by two additional ships in 2014. This means thousands of new residents for our city between the crew and their families.

All of this progress does not give us a license to rest. We must remain a city on the move to continue working hard every day. It takes partnership. It takes good legislation like my economic development plan that recently passed City Council by a unanimous vote to transform our Jacksonville Economic Development Commission into an executive-managed Office of Economic Development.

It takes energy and enthusiasm. It takes me. It takes you. Our future is based on “we” and how far we want to go.

Editorial by Mayor Alvin Brown

About the Author: Alvin Brown was elected in May 2011 to be the 7th mayor of the consolidated City of Jacksonville. Mayor Brown is a graduate of Jacksonville University who went on to oversee a $4 billion community empowerment fund as a senior official in the Clinton/Gore Administration starting in 1993. Mayor Brown also served as the executive director of the Bush/Clinton Katrina Interfaith Fund, a $20 million effort to rebuild 1,100 houses of worship throughout the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina.



Mayor Brown poses with cadets from the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps after announcing that he’d secured $200,000 in private commitments to preserve the program for nearly 500 students at four public high schools.


The mayor helped to raise $500 for the Salvation Army as a Red Kettle bell ringer at several locations last holiday season.


The mayor displays the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form while announcing a partnership with the Indo-US Chamber of Commerce of Northeast Florida and Jacksonville’s colleges and universities to hold a series of workshops focused on helping young people complete the FAFSA, a necessary but somewhat cumbersome step in college enrolment. The programs came at no cost to taxpayers or the students.







16 Comments

BrooklynSouth

July 12, 2012, 09:27:26 AM
Alvin Brown just makes me feel good about Jacksonville! I wouldn't be surprised to see him on a future ballot as a candidate for Governor.

If_I_Loved_you

July 12, 2012, 10:10:16 AM
Alvin Brown just makes me feel good about Jacksonville! I wouldn't be surprised to see him on a future ballot as a candidate for Governor.
Amen!

JeffreyS

July 12, 2012, 12:10:07 PM
I am happy with the Mayor so far aside from the obvious Default letter to the Jags. I really love the enthusiasm and sticking to his promises about tax increases. I am not an anti tax guy as long as the money is spent on QOL.  Hopefully he won't have to make such promises in his second term.

jaxlore

July 12, 2012, 05:16:21 PM
I appreciate the Mayor's enthusiasm over public private partnerships in the economic climate that we have. I hope that his second year will bring more fruition of his plans. But I wish his administration would be a little more forth coming on some of the social issues that he campaigned on and stop playing it so safe.

Fallen Buckeye

July 12, 2012, 07:00:17 PM
I'm actually fairly pleased with what the Mayor has done overall, too.

Charles Hunter

July 12, 2012, 10:16:07 PM
I am concerned about his tax reduction dogma.  We cannot "cheap" our way to "the next level" unless that next level is down.

tufsu1

July 12, 2012, 10:25:24 PM
+ 100

duvaldude08

July 12, 2012, 10:34:22 PM
Problem is, he got voted in on the premise that he would not raise taxes, and thats what the voter's expect. He's trying to be a man of his word. Before its all over, Im sure he will have to raise the taxes, but you cant fault him for trying to live him to his promise. And as a newer home owner myself, Im already paying higher taxes than I should because my home was a foreclosure. So Im pretty much paying what the previous owner was paying. My taxes are supposed to drop next year, but until then Im already on life support for the remainder of the year. LOL (its not that terriable, but you get my point). To raise them while Im already paying more than Im supposed to anyways, would be piss me right now at the moment. (selfish rant sorry. LOL)

Non-RedNeck Westsider

July 12, 2012, 10:45:14 PM
Problem is, he got voted in on the premise that he would not raise taxes, and thats what the voter's expect. He's trying to be a man of his word. Before its all over, Im sure he will have to raise the taxes, but you cant fault him for trying to live him to his promise. And as a newer home owner myself, Im already paying higher taxes than I should because my home was a foreclosure. So Im pretty much paying what the previous owner was paying. My taxes are supposed to drop next year, but until then Im already on life support for the remainder of the year. LOL (its not that terriable, but you get my point). To raise them while Im already paying more than Im supposed to anyways, would be piss me right now at the moment. (selfish rant sorry. LOL)

DD, you shouldn't be drunk on a thursday....  Wait another day or two.

Timkin

July 12, 2012, 11:13:24 PM
:o

duvaldude08

July 13, 2012, 01:07:08 AM
Problem is, he got voted in on the premise that he would not raise taxes, and thats what the voter's expect. He's trying to be a man of his word. Before its all over, Im sure he will have to raise the taxes, but you cant fault him for trying to live him to his promise. And as a newer home owner myself, Im already paying higher taxes than I should because my home was a foreclosure. So Im pretty much paying what the previous owner was paying. My taxes are supposed to drop next year, but until then Im already on life support for the remainder of the year. LOL (its not that terriable, but you get my point). To raise them while Im already paying more than Im supposed to anyways, would be piss me right now at the moment. (selfish rant sorry. LOL)

DD, you shouldn't be drunk on a thursday....  Wait another day or two.

Im sorry. I just looked at my mortgage statement LMAO

Ocklawaha

July 13, 2012, 09:44:49 AM

Cheer's DD!  ;D

Ocklawaha

July 13, 2012, 09:45:52 AM
In the event anyone at the mayors office is reading this, I will volunteer my services to the COJ to get a streetcar up and running.

fsujax

July 13, 2012, 10:13:09 AM
I don't think they are too interested Ock. That would require spending money.

duvaldude08

July 13, 2012, 10:18:43 AM

Cheer's DD!  ;D

I'll drink to that  ;D

sheclown

July 13, 2012, 09:30:39 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NR1brYTH-Tg&feature=youtu.be

Mayor unveils his budget on Monday to the city council. 

Now is the time (over this budget process) to make our voices heard. 

Online:  COJ.net or see it live.

Let's educate ourselves on this budget.

FYI

Budget Address

Quote
July 16, 2012

9 a.m.

City Hall, Council Chambers
117 West Duval Street
Jacksonville, Florida 32202

Mayor Alvin Brown will unveil his fiscal year 2013 budget to the Jacksonville City Council on Monday, July 16, 2012 at 9 a.m. Residents can watch the presentation live online or by turning to channel 99 on Comcast or U-Verse. Residents can also watch the presentation in person by coming to City Hall, 117 West Duval Street in Downtown Jacksonville.

 

City Council Special Meeting - Annual Budget Presentation

July 16, 2012

9:00 a.m.

City Hall

117 W. Duval St., 1st Floor

Council Chamber

Notice is hereby given that a Special Meeting of the Council will be held on Monday, July 16, 2012 at 9:00 a.m., in the Council Chambers, 1st Floor, City Hall, St. James Building, located at 117 West Duval Street, Jacksonville, Florida. The Honorable Alvin Brown, Mayor – City of Jacksonville will present the 2012-2013 Annual Budget address to the Jacksonville City Council at this time.
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