Author Topic: Tampa paper: Jacksonville's infrastructure neglect  (Read 4680 times)

Tacachale

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Re: Tampa paper: Jacksonville's infrastructure neglect
« Reply #30 on: October 10, 2017, 08:11:27 AM »
^The Times-Union ran many stories on Irma and its aftermath. Nate Monroe especially did a very good job on it. For whatever reason, those weren’t the articles linked here.
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Adam White

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Re: Tampa paper: Jacksonville's infrastructure neglect
« Reply #31 on: October 10, 2017, 08:32:03 AM »
^The Times-Union ran many stories on Irma and its aftermath. Nate Monroe especially did a very good job on it. For whatever reason, those weren’t the articles linked here.

Did the TU do stories about the gov't not funding necessary infrastructural work (in the wake of the flooding)? Honest question - I have no idea.
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Transman

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Re: Tampa paper: Jacksonville's infrastructure neglect
« Reply #32 on: October 10, 2017, 09:04:18 AM »
I do infrastructure work.  A million dollars is really not much money, by the time you pay the engineers, hire a contractor and inspectors it really won't go very far.  But still, the city could always use any amount of money.

The city is basically a wholly owned subsidiary of the Police and Fire Department and their pensions, that is where all of the money goes.  The city has not spent hardly anything for capital improvements for years, they just don't have the funds.  The Better Jacksonville Plan still has to pay off the bonds, so anything big will be years away.

I also agree on the money needs to be spent on inter-city neighborhoods.  Highest on the list is the replacement of septic tanks, which don't help the river and better drainage in these areas.  Old areas have smaller pipes or no pipes so it tends to flood in a hard rain, just like downtown St. Augustine.

vicupstate

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Re: Tampa paper: Jacksonville's infrastructure neglect
« Reply #33 on: October 10, 2017, 12:31:55 PM »
Quote
The city is basically a wholly owned subsidiary of the Police and Fire Department and their pensions, that is where all of the money goes.  The city has not spent hardly anything for capital improvements for years, they just don't have the funds.  The Better Jacksonville Plan still has to pay off the bonds, so anything big will be years away.

Once the BJP bonds are paid off those funds go to the Pension as well. 
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fieldafm

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Re: Tampa paper: Jacksonville's infrastructure neglect
« Reply #34 on: October 10, 2017, 12:35:49 PM »
Here is an interesting comparison of debt service, pension costs and other post-employment benefit expenses (OPEB in accounting terms) among cities with populations exceeding 500,000. These numbers represent a rolling average calculated over the past three fiscal years (so, the current FY that starts this month would not be included)

As you can see, about a third of the general fund goes to legacy costs and debt service. Unfortunately, even though the economy is roaring... ad valorum tax revenue hasn't exactly been growing by leaps and bounds in Jax. Given that scenario, without maxing out the city credit card (IE taking on more bond debt) there isn't a large pot of money that would beef up the Capital Improvements Projects (CIP) budget, which is where you would find money for infrastructure construction. A former poster here used to erroneously argue that this was simply made up and false math :/   

With the pension/sales tax plan passed by voters last year, there is some temporary relief and money freed up over the next few years (and the current CIP reflects in increase in infrastructure spending as such) based on re-amortizing the payoff schedule of pension costs. But that isn't necessarily 'new money', just a reorganization that puts off future expense until which time when BJP bonds get paid off and the 1/2 cent sales tax would then fund that debt service related to pension payouts.


« Last Edit: October 10, 2017, 12:48:07 PM by fieldafm »

CityLife

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Re: Tampa paper: Jacksonville's infrastructure neglect
« Reply #35 on: October 10, 2017, 01:02:51 PM »
I do infrastructure work.  A million dollars is really not much money, by the time you pay the engineers, hire a contractor and inspectors it really won't go very far.  But still, the city could always use any amount of money.

1 million dollars is nothing on the overall scale of what COJ needs to reduce flooding issues in low income neighborhoods. I was simply pointing out that we used CDBG funds to solve flooding issues in a low income neighborhood in Atlantic Beach.  COJ gets far more than 1 million a year in federal CDBG money though. I don't know the exact number off the top of my head, but would guess its north of $25 million a year. A lot of non-profits, CDC's, and community groups rely on the funding, but it is also able to be used for municipal projects. COJ could easily craft a long term plan to allocate CDBG funds, along with other grant funds and general fund money towards targeted drainage improvements.

Instead of doing a piece mail approach, the city could issue an RFP for a comprehensive drainage management plan in the neighborhoods that are eligible for CDBG funding (the money can only be used in low income census tracts). Then create a 10 year plan to allocate CDBG funds towards the projects based on level of urgency.

If the TU or Times would go back and evaluate the City's management of it's CDBG funds, it would probably find that the amount of wasted or misused money could have already made many of the necessary improvements.

sanmarcomatt

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Re: Tampa paper: Jacksonville's infrastructure neglect
« Reply #36 on: October 10, 2017, 01:42:26 PM »
Here is an interesting comparison of debt service, pension costs and other post-employment benefit expenses (OPEB in accounting terms) among cities with populations exceeding 500,000. These numbers represent a rolling average calculated over the past three fiscal years (so, the current FY that starts this month would not be included)

As you can see, about a third of the general fund goes to legacy costs and debt service. Unfortunately, even though the economy is roaring... ad valorum tax revenue hasn't exactly been growing by leaps and bounds in Jax. Given that scenario, without maxing out the city credit card (IE taking on more bond debt) there isn't a large pot of money that would beef up the Capital Improvements Projects (CIP) budget, which is where you would find money for infrastructure construction. A former poster here used to erroneously argue that this was simply made up and false math :/   

With the pension/sales tax plan passed by voters last year, there is some temporary relief and money freed up over the next few years (and the current CIP reflects in increase in infrastructure spending as such) based on re-amortizing the payoff schedule of pension costs. But that isn't necessarily 'new money', just a reorganization that puts off future expense until which time when BJP bonds get paid off and the 1/2 cent sales tax would then fund that debt service related to pension payouts.




And adding in the massive extra pension costs due to the Deals/Pension changes Curry made to get his Tax through and you can pretty much say good bye to much funding being available a few years from now. Hope the asset bubbles have legs....

fieldafm

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Re: Tampa paper: Jacksonville's infrastructure neglect
« Reply #37 on: October 10, 2017, 02:06:41 PM »
I do infrastructure work.  A million dollars is really not much money, by the time you pay the engineers, hire a contractor and inspectors it really won't go very far.  But still, the city could always use any amount of money.

1 million dollars is nothing on the overall scale of what COJ needs to reduce flooding issues in low income neighborhoods. I was simply pointing out that we used CDBG funds to solve flooding issues in a low income neighborhood in Atlantic Beach.  COJ gets far more than 1 million a year in federal CDBG money though. I don't know the exact number off the top of my head, but would guess its north of $25 million a year. A lot of non-profits, CDC's, and community groups rely on the funding, but it is also able to be used for municipal projects. COJ could easily craft a long term plan to allocate CDBG funds, along with other grant funds and general fund money towards targeted drainage improvements.

Instead of doing a piece mail approach, the city could issue an RFP for a comprehensive drainage management plan in the neighborhoods that are eligible for CDBG funding (the money can only be used in low income census tracts). Then create a 10 year plan to allocate CDBG funds towards the projects based on level of urgency.

If the TU or Times would go back and evaluate the City's management of it's CDBG funds, it would probably find that the amount of wasted or misused money could have already made many of the necessary improvements.


Yes, a lot of COJ's CBDG money goes to a little more than four dozen non-profits... people like Sulzbacher Center, Five Star Veterans Center, Changing Homelessness Catholic Charities, Salvation Army, etc for homeless services... Jax Chamber for entrepreneurial development programs in low income neighborhoods... River Region, Lutheran Social Service, NE Florida AIDS Network, etc for infectious disease care/addiction care... to name a few.

Then the City uses it for home stabilization programs, like the Mortgage Foreclosure Registry (foreclosure and property abandonment), 'neighborhood stabilization' efforts like the demolition of 125 residential and commercial structures last year, rent assistance, etc.. the Parks Department gets a chunk (some directed to Hogans Creek Greenway, some goes to the Riverwalk- as examples)... Fire Dept got money for two new hook/ladder trucks... Public Works gets money for ADA compliant retrofits of sidewalks... and so on.

Downtown Vision got $55k in CDBG money this FY.

I believe there was about $11mm-$12mm in FY2016, but don't quote me on that.

CBDG has a perilous future depending on what President Trump does to future federal budgets.

Something that purely probably only interests me and and me alone... but in the past, CBDG money was used for things like the construction of the Jacksonville Landing and Metro Park.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2017, 02:08:19 PM by fieldafm »

fieldafm

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Re: Tampa paper: Jacksonville's infrastructure neglect
« Reply #38 on: October 10, 2017, 02:21:06 PM »
I do infrastructure work.  A million dollars is really not much money, by the time you pay the engineers, hire a contractor and inspectors it really won't go very far.  But still, the city could always use any amount of money.

1 million dollars is nothing on the overall scale of what COJ needs to reduce flooding issues in low income neighborhoods. I was simply pointing out that we used CDBG funds to solve flooding issues in a low income neighborhood in Atlantic Beach.  COJ gets far more than 1 million a year in federal CDBG money though. I don't know the exact number off the top of my head, but would guess its north of $25 million a year. A lot of non-profits, CDC's, and community groups rely on the funding, but it is also able to be used for municipal projects. COJ could easily craft a long term plan to allocate CDBG funds, along with other grant funds and general fund money towards targeted drainage improvements.

Instead of doing a piece mail approach, the city could issue an RFP for a comprehensive drainage management plan in the neighborhoods that are eligible for CDBG funding (the money can only be used in low income census tracts). Then create a 10 year plan to allocate CDBG funds towards the projects based on level of urgency.

If the TU or Times would go back and evaluate the City's management of it's CDBG funds, it would probably find that the amount of wasted or misused money could have already made many of the necessary improvements.


Yes, a lot of COJ's CBDG money goes to a little more than four dozen non-profits... people like Sulzbacher Center, Five Star Veterans Center, Changing Homelessness Catholic Charities, Salvation Army, etc for homeless services... Jax Chamber for entrepreneurial development programs in low income neighborhoods... River Region, Lutheran Social Service, NE Florida AIDS Network, etc for infectious disease care/addiction care... to name a few.

Then the City uses it for home stabilization programs, like the Mortgage Foreclosure Registry (foreclosure and property abandonment), 'neighborhood stabilization' efforts like the demolition of 125 residential and commercial structures last year, rent assistance, etc.. the Parks Department gets a chunk (some directed to Hogans Creek Greenway, some goes to the Riverwalk- as examples)... Fire Dept got money for two new hook/ladder trucks... Public Works gets money for ADA compliant retrofits of sidewalks... and so on.

Downtown Vision got $55k in CDBG money this FY.

I believe there was about $11mm-$12mm in FY2016, but don't quote me on that.

CBDG has a perilous future depending on what President Trump does to future federal budgets.

Something that purely probably only interests me and and me alone... but in the past, CBDG money was used for things like the construction of the Jacksonville Landing and Metro Park.

He is more than capable of speaking for himself, but I think CityLife's main point was that even though the General Budget faces challenges, there are ways to reallocate various funding sources to try to attack these chronic infrastructure problems if in fact this was a top priority for the City. There is no magic bullet or quick fix, and if $1mm falls out of the air this year-that doesn't come close to scratching the paint on this SUV-sized problem.... but as the Times article suggests, decades of kicking the can down the road clearly shows that infrastructure hasn't been a priority in our local municipal budgets for a very long time. Former Mayor Delaney (my personal favorite elected official of my lifetime) even admits as such in the article, implicating his own administration as one of several administrations responsible for the present-day malaise (and that's saying a lot as the Delaney years included the windfall from the Better Jacksonvllle Plan).
« Last Edit: October 10, 2017, 02:29:42 PM by fieldafm »

CityLife

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Re: Tampa paper: Jacksonville's infrastructure neglect
« Reply #39 on: October 10, 2017, 04:21:24 PM »
^More or less the point. There is a clear non-general fund source that can be used to help combat the issue. After doing a quick google search, it appears the City has used some of its CDBG funds in the past to improve drainage at the neighborhood level. 

https://archives.hud.gov/offices/cpd/communitydevelopment/cdbg30/fl/award.cfm

It would be interesting to see what type of solutions creative engineers could come up with if the City really tries to tackle the issue. Perhaps there are opportunities to convert vacant/underutilized properties or city parkland into wetlands or retention ponds. What about COJ forming an ad hoc committee of engineers, environmental scientists, advocates, and community leaders to identify issues and challenges, then issue an RFP for the design?


 


jaxlongtimer

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Re: Tampa paper: Jacksonville's infrastructure neglect
« Reply #40 on: October 10, 2017, 11:15:58 PM »
One option would be to raise the millage rate back to what it once was before City leaders unwisely reduced it thinking "surpluses" (a debatable position given the underfunded pensions and infrastructure deterioration we now see) from good times would last forever.

You get what you pay for and Jax is more focused on being a low tax haven than investing in its community to build our quality of life.  The irony is money wisely invested should put us way ahead vs. giving the average property owner $100 to $300 back each year that won't change their standard of living in the same way the City could with that money.

Resistance to tax increases showed again in the "pay much more later" solution implemented in order not to raise taxes now regarding the pension issues.  Our future sacrificed.  We never learn.

This is the story of Jax for the last 100+ years and why we aren't were most people think we could/should be today.  Any successful business person will tell you that you can't under-invest if you want to survive and thrive.  Compounding under-investing, is that many of the precious few investments we have made like LaVilla, the Landing, the Stadium, the Convention Center and the Courthouse have not been handled well and have offered little to no return on investment to our citizens.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2017, 11:22:06 PM by jaxlongtimer »

Tacachale

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Re: Tampa paper: Jacksonville's infrastructure neglect
« Reply #41 on: October 11, 2017, 11:17:37 AM »
One option would be to raise the millage rate back to what it once was before City leaders unwisely reduced it thinking "surpluses" (a debatable position given the underfunded pensions and infrastructure deterioration we now see) from good times would last forever.

You get what you pay for and Jax is more focused on being a low tax haven than investing in its community to build our quality of life.  The irony is money wisely invested should put us way ahead vs. giving the average property owner $100 to $300 back each year that won't change their standard of living in the same way the City could with that money.

Resistance to tax increases showed again in the "pay much more later" solution implemented in order not to raise taxes now regarding the pension issues.  Our future sacrificed.  We never learn.

This is the story of Jax for the last 100+ years and why we aren't were most people think we could/should be today.  Any successful business person will tell you that you can't under-invest if you want to survive and thrive.  Compounding under-investing, is that many of the precious few investments we have made like LaVilla, the Landing, the Stadium, the Convention Center and the Courthouse have not been handled well and have offered little to no return on investment to our citizens.

The idea that our millage rate is lower than in our past is a myth. The current millage rate is as high as it's been since the early 90s. Tax rates are also naturally lower (officially) in the bedroom counties that are already absorbing most of the metro area's growth. Point being, increasing the millage rate isn't just a matter of undoing past cuts, it's adding to what many in town see as a burden. It's certainly not an easy fix in our cultural climate.
Do you believe that when the blue jay or another bird sings and the body is trembling, that is a signal that people are coming or something important is about to happen?

CityLife

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Re: Tampa paper: Jacksonville's infrastructure neglect
« Reply #42 on: October 11, 2017, 02:15:03 PM »
^Tough comparison to make though. A lot of homes in suburban counties pay HOA's, which reduce parks, recreation, and r.o.w maintenance costs for the county. Also, SJC receives a substantial amount of tax dollars from impact fees. Developers pay $14k in impact fees towards roads, schools, fire, etc for new homes, which are then passed on to home owners. Essentially a front loaded tax. When you factor in the impact fees and HOA costs, I think you'd find that the average homeowner in SJC effectively pays more for public services.




Tacachale

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Re: Tampa paper: Jacksonville's infrastructure neglect
« Reply #43 on: October 11, 2017, 04:20:56 PM »
^Tough comparison to make though. A lot of homes in suburban counties pay HOA's, which reduce parks, recreation, and r.o.w maintenance costs for the county. Also, SJC receives a substantial amount of tax dollars from impact fees. Developers pay $14k in impact fees towards roads, schools, fire, etc for new homes, which are then passed on to home owners. Essentially a front loaded tax. When you factor in the impact fees and HOA costs, I think you'd find that the average homeowner in SJC effectively pays more for public services.

100% correct. Still, it's a common refrain from the counties and people moving there that they're getting lower taxes than in Jacksonville as the additional costs are buried.
Do you believe that when the blue jay or another bird sings and the body is trembling, that is a signal that people are coming or something important is about to happen?

I-10east

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Re: Tampa paper: Jacksonville's infrastructure neglect
« Reply #44 on: October 12, 2017, 07:03:37 PM »
The anti-Jax people have gotten aroused because of that out of town news... The pot calling the kettle black is the best way to look at this 'objective news'.