Because the local media won’t let go of its narrative about the consolidation of the city and county governments in 1968, Eye on Jacksonville will continue to challenge them.
The latest to employ the false story is Kent Justice of News4Jax, a liberal local TV station.
We sent Justice an email:
“The project would fulfill a promise made 60 years ago during consolidation to connect neighborhoods with sewer lines and replace septic tanks.”
“Can you provide the source for your information? Who made the alleged promise and who did they make it to?”
As anticipated, we got no answer.
Local TV stations and a small liberal local newspaper continue to make this statement and none ever have documented its source.
Another News4Jax reporter, Travis Gibson, wrote:
“The effort to remove septic tanks is meant to make good on a broken promise made in 1968 during consolidation. The city agreed to improve drainage and sewer systems in older neighborhoods as it expanded the city boundaries to go all the way out to the beaches.”
We also emailed Gibson asking the source of his information and have not received a reply.
The truth is that proponents of consolidation never made a promise to extend free water and sewer service throughout Jacksonville.
This story was made up to provide cover for local politicians who now want to provide that service – at a cost of many billions of dollars.
They want to make it appear that there is an obligation to do this work, at taxpayer expense, because of some nebulous promise made decades ago.
As Eye has documented, the city has added 740 miles of sewer lines and eliminated thousands of septic tanks in the past 50 years. Much of the cost was paid by homeowners, whose property values increased as a result.
The current plan is to provide it to them at the expense of other taxpayers.
One reason given to support the need for such work is the claim that septic tanks are failing, creating a public health hazard.
However, politicians can’t – or won’t – explain why they have continued to allow septic tanks to be installed while claiming that they are a public health hazard.
Eye also has revealed that only 31 homeowners out of 65,000 were cited last year for septic tank problems, and none were serious enough to turn over to the State Attorney’s Office.
If they are a public health hazard, why not enforce the law?
Politicians are seeking a huge increase in the gas tax, partly to finance this effort to replace septic tanks.
If they can make a cogent argument and convince the public that it is needed, so be it. But using a false narrative – aided and abetted by an unquestioning and uncurious media – is not the way to advance their cause.