Improving national economic conditions have resulted in Home Depot recently issuing a press release that the company will be hiring 80,000 more workers. In addition, Jacksonville is one of the nation's leaders in market rate multifamily construction, infill continues in Riverside and more development pops up around St. Johns Town Center and River City Marketplace every day. However, these market rate economic positives aren't enough for some. Despite community opposition, Councilman Richard Clark has filed a bill in favor of the City of Jacksonville implementing a three year tax increase in the form of a mobility fee moratorium. Here is a brief look at the details of Clark's proposed subsidy to development at the expense of the average taxpayer and how it could negatively impact our city's future.
A tunnel visioned approach to subsidized job creation in a single industry in city with an economy as diverse as Jacksonville is destined to failure. For proof, look no further than Council's attempt to manipulate the market with last year's mobility fee moratorium. Statistical data resulting from that experiment proved that it was an epic failure.
Area building permits over the last year indicated that there was no rational nexus between the mobility fee moratorium and market realities. While Duval, Clay, and Nassau Counties had suspended their fees, St. Johns County, continued to pull ahead, despite maintaining a concurrency fee system for new development to help financially support its negatives on existing public infrastructure. Further leading to the growing gulf in quality-of-life between it and Duval, St. Johns has used the income generated to help invest in it's public education system.
At the statewide level, economic indicators also suggested that there was no remote correlation between last year's failed mobility fee moratorium, as the graph below visually displays. If a one year experiment was a failure, why on earth would we want to play around with a three year attempt when the market is actually improving?
Councilman Clark's Ordinance 2013-94
What it means for Jacksonville
A new home on an infill site, such as this residence in Durkeeville, would not pay a mobility fee. The mobility fee isn't against new development. It is intended to guide new development to be fiscally responsible to the surrounding community.
Jacksonville is currently known as one of the most deadly cities in the country for pedestrians and bicyclist. It is also a city with a struggling downtown and several older neighborhoods that have been negatively impacted by our subsidization of low quality growth over the last fifty years. However, we are a community that possesses a ton of potential. The mobility plan and fee were created to drive and stimulate the type of growth that results in a higher quality of life for our residents, while also generating the income necessary to invest in ourselves in a fiscally responsible manner.
A mobility fee moratorium as a strategy for stimulating quality economic development and job creation is just as effective as attempting to nail jello to a wall. In fact, it's a policy that can easily be considered as counterproductive to data and conversation flowing out of the recent JAX 2025 surveys and community visioning efforts. If we're going to ask taxpayers to subsidize something, that conversation should be centered on issues such as better transit, public schools, libraries, neighborhoods, and port infrastructure. It should not be about subsidizing market rate development at the expense of the taxpayers who's homes and businesses may already be underwater.
How You Can Get Involved
5000 Town, an example of market rate development already under construction without the need of a mobility fee moratorium.
The failure of Councilman Clark's pending legislation will place Jacksonville in a position to create additional jobs by investing in itself while also making the streets and mobility options, reliable and safe for all. In addition, avoiding this subsidy will eliminate the hidden long term tax burden this moratorium will place on the backs of average everyday residents just trying to survive.
With this in mind, the City of Jacksonville's future needs its concerned resident's will power more than ever. Councilman Clark's moratorium bill will be introduced to City Council on Tuesday, February 12, 2012. Attendance at the February 12th meeting will be important to speak for the sunset of the moratorium and letters of support from residents and organizations showing how the mobility plan will help them are also important.
Spreading information of the negative impacts of this bill to neighborhoods and contacting council representatives to encourage the defeat of this pending legislation is encouraged. Such grassroots efforts can be a powerful tool for the average resident who simply desires to live in a community with a higher quality-of-life.
Mayor Alvin Brown's Office 630-1776 email@example.com
District 1 Clay Yarborough 630-1389 Clay@coj.net
District 2 William Bishop 630-1392 WBishop@coj.net
District 3 Richard Clark 630-1386 RClark@coj.net
District 10 Don Redman 630-1394 Redman@coj.net
District 5 Lori N. Boyer 630-1382 LBoyer@coj.net
District 6 Matt Schellenberg 630-1388 MattS@coj.net
District 7 Dr. Johnny Gaffney 630-1384 Gaffney@coj.net
District 8 E. Denise Lee 630-1385 EDLee@coj.net
District 9 Warren Jones 630-1395 WAJones@coj.net
District 10 Reggie Brown 630-1684 RBrown@coj.net
District 11 Ray Holt 630-1383 Holt@coj.net
District 12 Doyle Carter 630-1380 firstname.lastname@example.org
District 13 Bill Guilliford 630-1397 Gulliford@coj.net
District 14 Jim Love 630-1390 JimLove@coj.net
At Large 1 Kimberly Daniels 630-1393 KimDaniels@coj.net
At Large 2 John R. Crescimbeni 630-1381 JRC@coj.net
At Large 3 Stephen Joost 630-1396 Joost@coj.net
At Large 4 Greg Anderson 630-1398 GAnderson@coj.net
At Large 5 Robin Lumb 630-1387 RLumb@coj.net
Editorial by Ennis Davis. Contact Ennis at email@example.com