Hazouri wants $100 million for septic tank phaseout | Jax Daily Record | Jacksonville Daily Record

Jacksonville City Council President Tommy Hazouri tabled a bill on February 3 that would loan $ 100 million to clear aging septic tanks and connect underserved areas of Duval County to sanitation.

Hazouri’s announcement comes when District 10th Councilor Brenda Priestly Jackson said on a text message on Feb. 3 that she was working with Mayor Lenny Curry’s office to find funding to complete the 2016 approved underfunded septic tank exit program.

In a February 9 press release, Hazouri said his proposal was in addition to Curry’s efforts to complete septic tank removal in the Biltmore, Beverly Hills and Christobel neighborhoods.

Hazouri announced his $ 100 million plan to the council before adjourning the February 9 meeting.

The council chairman said the city’s public works department has a list of 35 areas in Duval County that the program will target.

A request to Hazouri’s office for a list of target areas was not met in early February.

Hazouri said the plan is needed to reduce contaminated runoff from aging tanks that can flow into the tributaries and groundwater systems of the St. Johns River during rainfall events.

“It is time to do more than just acknowledge that there are disagreements,” Hazouri said in the press release.

The city estimated that Jacksonville needed 65,000 septic tanks to be replaced in 2016, many of which were built before the 1968 consolidation.

Hazouri told the council that he wanted to create long-term and sustainable funding for an issue that he expects to continue into future terms of the council and in the mayor’s offices.

Hazouri admitted that $ 100 million will likely not be enough to fix the nationwide problem.

“It’s time we stood up and fulfilled yesterday’s unfulfilled promises. These neighborhoods are vital to Jacksonville’s well-being, “Hazouri said in the press release.

“We haven’t provided the help that is so badly needed for too long,” he said. “Now is the time to act. Our responsibility is to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of every citizen. We can no longer delay or avoid investing in our neighborhoods that have been left behind or left out. “

Hazouri’s bill, Ordinance 2021-0100, would use fixed income debt and the city’s commercial paper program – a short-term liquidity loan option – to fund the septic tank exit.

It changes the city’s budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year and five-year capital improvement plan. To change the budget in the middle of the year, at least 13 of the 19 councilors must vote for it to be passed.

2016 commitment

Priestly Jackson said Feb. 3 it was focused on the incomplete septic tank exit in the Christobel neighborhood and expected an announcement from the Curry administration about additional funding soon.

Jay Stowe, CEO of JEA, announced to the utility’s board of directors on Jan. 28 that the program to provide an urban sewage service for the Biltmore, Beverly Hills and Christobel neighborhoods was over budget.

Information from the utility company shows the program is running out of about $ 31.8 million.

JEA has special septic tank exit funding of $ 54,161,094, media relations coordinator Simone Garvey-Ewan said in an email.

Utilities said the design and construction in the Christobel neighborhood hadn’t started yet and would cost $ 25.8 million. The Beverly Hills East project is in the drafting phase, but JEA is estimated to be $ 6 million short.

Garvey-Ewan said the Biltmore C and Beverly Hills projects were under construction and Beverly Hills West would begin in March. Both are fully funded.

The city council agreed with JEA’s $ 15 million pledge to fund the septic tank exit in August 2016, which at the time comprised 1,150 lots. There are now 1,589 lots in the JEA septic tank exit area.

A higher priority has been given to the districts where the remediation would improve the water quality in the 25 tributaries of the river or the areas classified as most urgent by the Duval County Health Department.

JEA has provided an additional $ 1.65 million annually since the bill was approved. JEA and the city changed the Interagent Agreement in February 2019, increasing JEA’s total contribution by $ 15.155 million.

The utility also paid approximately $ 1 million in fees and other costs for the project.

Stowe said Jan. 28 there was no clear answer as to why JEA’s cost estimate was low, but he has asked utility officials to coordinate with the city’s Department of Public Works and come back with a plan to complete the project.

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