Councilwoman Lori Boyer shares her thoughts on the state of downtown and several other issues currently facing the city council.
I am writing today encouraged and optimistic in the belief that our City has turned the corner - we are experiencing economic recovery in job growth as well as the real estate market, Downtown is coming alive with one event and announcement after another, and I have great expectations for our new Superintendent of Schools.
OneSpark, a showcase of creative talent and ideas, takes place through Sunday in multiple locations downtown and I urge all of you to come explore the exhibits, enjoy the entertainment, and perhaps even get in on the ground floor on a new business venture. For more information, check out their website, www.beonespark.com.
I am also pleased to report that I was able to add almost $900,000.00 to the funding for citywide right of way mowing and grounds maintenance. The funding came from savings on the City's bills from JEA as well as surplus from closing out several old project accounts. The result should be that our public rights of way and spaces are well-maintained this year and reflect our pride in our City. We cannot expect to recruit new business to our City, or instill enthusiasm and civic pride in our citizens, if the streets we travel daily are overgrown and choked with weeds. While the funds were only one-time money, the message of their budgetary importance should be clear when the Administration begins work on the budget for next year.
In other news, check out my article on the mobility fee waiver and Metropolitan Park.
The mayor's office has proposed another reorganization bill, which consists largely of name changes. There are several consolidations of Divisions and movements of functions between Departments, but at the moment, I do not see the operational or economic benefit of the proposal. I know the first reorganization bill took its toll on operations and diverted attention from providing City services to figuring out personnel issues, budget transfers, and the like. No one has been able to demonstrate any real cost savings or efficiency from that effort; rather the budget reductions seem to have come from reductions in staff and services. While on the whole, I believe the Mayor has great latitude to organize his departments, I hate to see further disruption without good reason.
Finally, on my personal projects, I can report that the public service grant process revisions have become law and the Context Sensitive Street legislation went through committees unanimously this week and will be before full Council next Tuesday. Now on to the PUD process.
As always, I am grateful for this opportunity to serve you. Thank you for your continuing encouragement.
P.S. Don't forget to check out the website www.loriboyer.org, for updates on many other issues and upcoming events.