Dueling Proposals Aim To Phase Out Jax Septic Tanks In Environmentally Sensitive Areas

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry on Thursday announced a $ 26.8 million investment to exit septic tanks in three Northside neighborhoods. It adds to a $ 30 million investment made in 2016 and is still well below estimates of the total cost of the project.

The project is an ongoing commitment Jacksonville made to around 35 neighborhoods when the city consolidated its government with that of Duval County in 1968. Jacksonville promised to remove unsafe and polluting septic tanks and connect households to the city’s sewer system.

Decades later, that promise has not been kept, and the only worsening environmental risks are due to the aging of the septic tanks and climate change.

Well, Curry said the new infusion of cash that is About half from the city coffers and half from the city coffers will be phasing out the tanks in Beverly Hills, Biltmore and Christobel.

The mayor said he knew the investment was a drop in the ocean compared to what is needed. “Although I am happy that we can provide these funds for these three parts of the city, there are 30 on our priority list that still need this important work. This work could cost more than $ 2 billion in total. That’s a billion with a B. “

Curry said it was an important step in years of efforts to fix the broken promise of a septic exit.

The Mayor thanked Alderman Ju’Coby Pittman and Brenda Priestly Jackson and Council Vice President Sam Newby for their support for the project.

“This is a cornerstone,” said City Council Vice President Sam Newby. “The City of Jacksonville promised our citizens over 50 years ago that we would look after them. And now we are. “

Priestly Jackson said the project targets some of Jacksonville’s most economically deprived areas. “We are first and foremost obliged to meet the needs of the least of us. And what does that mean? For us, it is these neighbors who have been overlooked for various reasons and often find themselves challenged financially to meet certain needs in their community. “

The mayor’s announcement comes two days after a much larger proposal from City Council President Tommy Hazouri, who tabled laws that would allocate $ 100 million on the same issue.

“We know that $ 100 million is just the beginning of the funds necessary to deliver on our promise. We care a lot about our city; I hope JEA, in partnership with the city, will soon commit to accelerating efforts to clear septic tanks, ”Hazouri said in a statement.

Connected: Jax City Council president calls for $ 100 million for septic tank drainage

Curry said he has not seen or spoken to Hazouri’s bill. “I couldn’t tell you exactly what the plan is, how the money will be used and what time, so I just have no answer on this specific piece of legislation.”

The mayor added that he was determined “to work with this council and find a comprehensive long-term solution”.

Contact Sydney Boles at [email protected] or on Twitter at @sydneyboles.

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