Q&A with Jacksonville City Council Member Tommy Hazouri, At Large District 3

Q: What is the latest (as of today, April 23) on the potential sale of JEA?

A: There is becoming a cloud of mistrust as far as this topic. From the beginning, we’ve never had a bill in front of the City Council. This has been my problem all along. Now the JEA director has resigned and they’ve just appointed an interim director during this period of “transparency”… or lack thereof. At this time, I think we should be looking at possibly restructuring JEA to meet the competition and provide low rates and additional sources of electricity for customers, but still maintaining ownership. I have had more constituents tell me they don’t support the sale than I have heard about any other controversial issue, including the HRO. We should be focusing on other issues such as sidewalks in Mandarin and The District.

Q: What can you tell us about The District?

A: This project, which is a development on the riverfront at the old JEA generating plant, is moving forward. It received unanimous approval from the Downtown Investment Authority and will be up for a vote in the City Council probably in mid-June. There seems to be a good amount of support. When completed, The District proposes to be a city within a city and contain 1,170 residential units; 200,000 square feet of office space; 200,000 square feet of retail; a 3.5 acre riverfront park as an extension of the Southbank Riverwalk; a 125 slip marina; and a Marriott hotel. It’s taken several years of work to get to this point, but that’s how long a project of this magnitude requires.

Q: Do you have any results from the City of Jacksonville’s tire buyback program?

A: This event was held at EverBank Field on March 24 in an effort to combat blight. A total of 22,508 tires were dropped off and $43,602 was paid out to residents who brought them in. Additionally, 3,376 snipe signs were turned in and $1,666 was paid out for them. I would say this was a successful day. This is an ongoing program and we will have additional events in the future.

Q: Do you have anything else to share?

A: I’d like to label this one “Did you know?” Did you know that October 1 will be the 50th anniversary of consolidated Jacksonville? There is a celebration planned. In fact, the JSO officers are already wearing badges that acknowledge this milestone.

Q: What is the best way for our readers to contact you?

A: They can email me at THazouri@coj.net or call (904) 630-1396.