Oct. 1 will mark the 50th anniversary of the consolidation of the city and county governments in Jacksonville.
How has it worked?
Pretty well, most would say.
Just as one example, property tax rates were reduced for the first 10 years of the new government.
However, those of us who were at the beginning recognize some differences.
One of the most striking is what has happened to central services.
This was one of the main features of consolidation. Not only were duplication of services in the two governments eradicated, but a system was put in place where functions such as purchasing, legal services and a motor pool were put in one department, to serve all agencies.
Over the years, this has changed. One reason is that politicians and bureaucrats who ruled the different fiefdoms each wanted more control. As computers came into use, each wanted to decide how information was retained and disseminated, and to make certain the ruler got the lion’s share of praise and credit for any achievement.
Perhaps there was justification for some of these changes, but I don’t remember any informative debate as to the wisdom of changing course. Instead, it seemed to just slip away, as freedom does in a republic when no one is watching.
As for the tax relief provided then: currently, growth seems to be producing carloads of money for the local government. Yet all I hear is politicians talking about how best to spend that money. Or, “invest” it, as they like to say.
How about letting people who earned it, keep it?
Seems to be that a mayor and City Council members who will be coming up for election next year would be interested in impressing voters by allowing them to keep more of their own money. The politicians, rightly or wrongly, always can claim credit for fostering the growth that produced the additional revenue.
The old city government’s politicians, before a number of them went to jail, “invested” in magnificent monuments to themselves, placed along the waterfront where they had no business being. The old City Hall and courthouse now are up for sale and demolition.
Unlike brick buildings, tax relief doesn’t wear out.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://eyeonjacksonville.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Lloyd-Brown.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Lloyd was born in Jacksonville. Graduated from the University of North Florida. He spent nearly 50 years of his life in the newspaper business …beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor for Florida Times Union. He has also been published in a number of national newspapers and magazines, as well as Internet sites. Married with children. Military Vet. Retired. Man of few words but the words are researched well, deeply considered and thoughtfully written. [/author_info] [/author]