City council president Tommy Hazouri on Tuesday tabled a $ 100 million bill to replace septic tanks with sewer services, and Mayor Lenny Curry’s office said Curry was “absolutely determined” to end all septic tank exit options promised in 2016 to perform in three boroughs in northwest Jacksonville.
Curry has also worked with city council members on a long-term solution to septic tank leakage, but Hazouri said in the case of his bill he is pursuing the $ 100 million because it fits his goal of promoting social justice and community investment.
“This is a quick way to get started,” said Hazouri. “If he (Curry) has a better idea, God bless our city.”
Hazouri said the COVID-19 pandemic, violent crime and septic tank replacement are the top three problems facing Jacksonville.
Expanding the sewage service to older neighborhoods is a messy and costly task. Once completed, it can improve the quality of life for residents and also benefit the environment as leaky septic tanks get into the waterways.
In 2016, the city and JEA jointly ran a program to expand sewage service to nearly 1,600 properties in the Biltmore, Beverly Hills and Christobel subareas.
At those stands, however, a combination of city and JEA dollars has lagged far behind what is needed, according to JEA.
The program is approximately $ 54 million, but the projected cost of running the works across all neighborhoods will be around $ 86 million, according to the JEA.
Curry still wants the work to be done in the three boroughs.
“Absolutely,” said Jordan Elsbury, Curry’s chief of staff. “The mayor is currently working with staff and the council on a plan to promptly meet these neighborhood commitments and find a long-term solution to the larger septic tank problem.”
Elsbury said this includes “evaluating and working out a solution with the council” for the pay for the work.
He said the city will also seek government support when state legislation meets and approves its budget this spring.
Rep. Wyman Duggan, R-Jacksonville, has filed a $ 6 million application for the city’s septic tank exchange program.
Hazouri said the city needs to complete work on the neighborhoods identified in 2016 and also find a long-term and sustainable way to move the neighborhoods from septic tanks to sewer systems.
“You can’t just go out there and make $ 1 billion, of course, but it has to be a long-term commitment that is stable and sustainable,” said Hazouri. “If we don’t have a sustainable program, the tenth mayor will speak about it now. It’s time to act.”
The three districts identified in 2016 are in different stages of development, from those under construction to those not yet planned.
The Biltmore C Project is located in a two-lane neighborhood of single-story and prefabricated houses on 352 lots near the intersection of Edgewood Avenue North and Old Kings Road. Little Six Mile Creek runs across the back of the subdivision.
The work in Beverly Hills is divided into two sections. Beverly Hills West, which includes 473 lots, is scheduled to begin construction in March.
Beverly Hills East, with 255 lots, needs another $ 6 million to be fully funded, according to JEA, which is handling the construction of the sewage service expansion.
Duggan’s request for $ 6 million in state law funding would go towards exiting the Beverly Hills East septic tank. The inquiry indicates that the subdivision is in an area bordering the Ribault River.
There is no funding available for the Christobel district, which comprises 509 properties. The estimated cost of designing and building Christobel is $ 25.8 million.
The three neighborhoods are among the 35 areas in which the city is most in need of septic tank replacement.
The estimated cost for all 35 sections with 22,242 lots is $ 1.14 billion. That would still be just part of more than 65,000 septic tanks in Duval County.
Hazouri’s legislation would change the city’s capital improvement program. Doing this during the budget year would require majority support, which would require at least 13 out of 19 council members to support funding.