You, the rate payers and users of JEA services, have a chance to be heard about the potential sale of JEA. A question has been added to the ballot asking your opinion on this sensitive and important matter. Please make sure you answer the question.  For all the information, check out this email below sent to Eye on Jacksonville by a reader.  We send a WINK to John Crescimbini for getting this on the ballot for us to decide the fate of JEA and a WINK to all the City Council Members who took the time to review all the information associated with the potential sale of JEA.

JEA Straw Ballot Information Sheet

Earlier this year, there was a lengthy conversation about the possible sale of JEA.  Although the topic of JEA’s value came up in 2007 and 2012, this year’s conversation received considerable public attention and led to the creation of a Special City Council Committee.  The Special Committee, which was chaired by Councilman John Crescimbeni, originally consisted of 5 Council members with a charge of studying the Potential Sale of the JEA, and ended up as a committee of all 19 Council members with a charge of studying “The Future of JEA.”

After meeting weekly for nearly five months, the Special Committee adopted its final report on July 25, which outlines the countless contributions JEA makes to our community.  In addition to providing reliable electric, water and sewer service, some of those contributions include an annual payment to the city’s general fund ($117 million in this year’s budget), the purchase of $20 million of preservation park lands, JEA employees contributing thousands of volunteer hours each year towards various community projects and JEA’s ability to get FEMA reimbursements of 87.5% of the cost of hurricane damage to JEA infrastructure.  (Private utilities cannot seek reimbursements from FEMA and instead pass those costs on to their customers.)  A copy of the Special Committee’s final report is attached.

Many people believe the conversation about selling JEA is likely to come up again next year after the city elections.  At present, the City Charter states that if the JEA Board of Directors decides to sell more than 10% of JEA, the City Council (by a majority vote) has to then approve the JEA Board’s decision.

Councilman Crescimbeni has always believed that any final decision to sell JEA should be made by the JEA shareholders ─ the citizens and voters of Duval County.  As a result, he authored a straw ballot question which will appear on the November 6th ballot.  The straw ballot question asks voters whether the Jacksonville City Council should call for a vote of the people (via a binding referendum) to approve the terms and conditions of any sale of more than 10% of JEA?

How Should You Vote on the JEA Straw Ballot?

Vote YES if you want the voters of Jacksonville/Duval County to make the final decision on any future sale of JEA.

Vote NO if you want only the Jacksonville City Council to make the final decision on any future sale of JEA.

Conclusion

The JEA straw ballot question will be the last item to appear on the November 6th election ballot (except for residents of Atlantic Beach, where it will be next to last).  If you decide to skip over some or all of the Constitutional amendments, please make sure you go to the end of the ballot to cast your vote on this important question about any future sale of JEA.

 

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Billie Tucker has worked in the CEO world for more than 30 years and was the Chief Operating Officer of Vistage Florida, a think tank for CEOs. She started her own consulting practice, CEO Service Bureau, in 2001 and earned a reputation for her keen understanding of the motivations, challenges and goals of people and became a life-long student and teacher of leadership principles. She craved anything leadership related and enjoyed being around the world of entrepreneurial CEOs. She watched as they made decisions; pondered how they would make payroll when cash flow was tight; and appreciated how they created career opportunities for hundreds of thousands of people. Because of her experiences, she has emerged as a key resource for the media and others who want to understand important insights about executives, management teams and board dynamics. In 2008, Billie became discouraged as she watched some of her clients struggle with the political economic impacts on their businesses. The same CEOs who mortgaged their home and charged up their credit cards to make ends meet to build a business and keep others working, now watched as their government bailed out the big banks who had mismanaged their resources. She cringed as most of her clients laid off employees for the first time and she vowed she would help them… somehow…someway. That somehow…someway showed up in the Tea Party Movement in America. She formed one of the largest tea party group’s in America (more than 9,000 members strong) and helped bring attention to America’s debt problem, out of control spending, over taxation and regulation strangulation on companies. With her background in working with leaders and her influence in the political and leadership world, Billie has continued her dream to help CEOs navigate these troubling waters that permeate the world of capitalism in America. She has been an active participant in the media as a guest on CNN, Fox News, Fox Business, Bott Family Network Radio and co-hosts a political/financial radio show in the Northeast Florida market entitled, Smart Money. She was the first speaker at the House of Representatives Tea Party Caucus inaugural event and was invited by Heritage Foundation to speak at their prestigious annual Heritage Resource Bank, and on their National Security Panel live broadcasts. She spoke at the Congressional Republican House Retreat in Pennsylvania in 2012. She was also the co-host and co-producer of the CNN Tea Party Express Debate in the 2012 Presidential Election. She is a firm believer that America needs more entrepreneurs and more opportunities for people to use their God-given talents and passions to better themselves, their communities and America. Her favorite quote has become her mission to help CEOs succeed: “Vision without execution is hallucination.” – Thomas Edison

 

 

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