Jacksonville, FL (April 13, 2021) – City Council, Unanimously Approved Bill 2021-141 to help City Council Member Danny Becton to bring much needed City Water Services to a rural Southside Neighborhood of Greenland Heights on Cordial Drive. The bill appropriated $150,000 for the installation by JEA for city water services that would tie into a water main from an adjacent street. The bill appropriated $116,000 for the installation of waterlines, fire hydrants and meters and an additional $34,000 for the customer-side connection costs to be performed by professional licensed plumbers, to be selected by JEA. The work is schedule to take about 6 – 8 months.
In this bill introduced by Council Member Becton, this neighborhood, has been an area of concern on several different issues, in recent years. First, it was their poor roadway conditions in which residents found it difficult traveling to and from their homes. Unfortunately, their road was not a city street but a roadway considered as “tax-reverted”. This situation creates an issue whereby the city has no maintenance liability and the roadway is not officially owned by anyone, therefore there is no private party to enforce maintenance.
“Tax-Reverted roadways are an issue in our city”, Council Member Becton stated. “These roads were built by original property owners, whereby the property owner sold lots, built homes and never improved the roadway to city standards and never officially turned them over to the city”, Council Member Becton explained. “Now, we have these roads that are stuck in limbo; the city will not maintain them and when the residents are in a lower income scale, improving the road becomes challenging.” Council Member Becton added.
It was by a prior relationship with local business owner Emir Hrustic, who came to the rescue at Council Member Becton’s request. Hrustic Brothers is a concrete recycling business that specializes in creating an aggregate that is used for many things but one use is roadway surfaces. Emir, volunteered his company’s time, resources and materials and improved the road conditions; the residents were extremely grateful.
As the roadway for their street was improved, another issue surfaced that required immediate attention. Resident’s wells were failing and their water supply unreliable and unsafe to drink. Seeing this as an immediate Public Health and Safety concern, Council Member Becton was prompted into action once again.
“You have heard me say on several occasions that for neighborhoods and residents of our city to have a sustainable “quality of life”, the #1 need is to have safe, clean and reliable WATER. It is my opinion, again, this is a necessity over all else! Council Member Becton acknowledged to his fellow Council Members.
Off Cordial Drive, there are about 14 property owners within this neighborhood off Greenland Road, who have been struggling to have potable water as their wells have failed; requiring residents to make other arrangements for having safe, clean drinking water. Having bottled water and being required to boil water was a necessity for most of those residents. Low water pressure and just brown water coming out of their spigots was a daily occurrence.
“Things that most people take for granted, like cooking, cleaning and taking a bath, were all obstacles for residents,” Council Member Becton explained. “The issue of their tax-reverted roadway also became an obstacle as JEA and the city wanted to help but navigating the liability issue that the road status presented, made getting into the needed rights-of-way difficult”, Council Member Becton added.
It was several years in the making that Council Member Becton in working on this problem along with the help of the administration and JEA, got to a point in time became critical and a solution to solve the problem necessary. Opportunity presented itself in the late part of this budget year when funds became available due to the Covid Pandemic and the lack of need for the annual Florida-Georgia game created a surplus of funds in the amount of $1,873,733. It was from these funds that Council Member Becton found the solution.
“This bill, if approved, will provide city water services for all residents”, CM Becton explained. “By this appropriation, we will solve this issue and have something to show for our efforts in approximately 6 months”, Council Member Becton added. “Therefore, in preparing for this installation, I also submitted for the record that all current residents of Cordial Drive have signed a form acknowledging that they will accept this hookup from JEA of the city water services”, Council Member Becton continued.
It is with appreciation for the 14 Co-Sponsors from Council Members Ferraro, Gaffney, Pittman, Newby, White, Freeman, Diamond, Carrico, Salem, Morgan, Priestly Jackson, Dennis, Carlucci and Defoor and the remaining Council Members approving the legislation that this neighborhood of Cordial Drive’s quality of life will be improved.
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