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Jacksonville Councilman Asks Duval Lawmakers For More Conservation Funds

Leonard J. DeFrancisci
Wikimedia Commons
Credit Leonard J. DeFrancisci / Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

The Jacksonville City Council is asking for conservation dollars to clean up First Coast waterways.

Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Orange Park, is proposing $35 million in conservation funding for projects along the St. Johns River and the Keystone Lake region.

Bradley told WJCT earlier this month North Florida isn't getting its fair share of money from a 2014 constitutional amendment earmarking tax revenue for conservation.

Jacksonville City Councilman Matt Schellenberg agreed.

“Last year and it appears this year also, 75 percent of the money is going to South Florida,” he said.

Schellenberg is on board with Bradley’s bill, and at Tuesday’s Duval Legislative Delegation meeting, he asked that his county be considered for more funding too.

He said there’s a backlog of local projects that have been halted for lack of funding.

“The biggest one right now is cleanup on Hogan’s Creek, as well as the bill for the septic tanks is close to $400 million and I think that would help substantially getting us moving,” he said. “You can't do it every year, but a little bit of money — $20, $30, and $40 million — to help remove contaminated septic tanks.”

Schellenberg’s request follows a similar budget request by Mayor Lenny Curry. Originally Curry wanted $50 million for reconstruction of a portion of the Hart Expressway. As the Florida Times-Union reports, the mayor has since said he’ll ask for septic tank money instead.

And at the same time, a coalition of current and former elected officials called Stand Up For North Florida is set to lobby Tallahassee for the conservation funds.

Reporter Ryan Benk can be reached at , 904-358-6319 or on Twitter @RyanMichaelBenk .

Copyright 2020 WJCT News 89.9. To see more, visit WJCT News 89.9.

Ryan Benk is originally from Miami, Florida and came to Tallahassee to attend Florida State University. He worked on Miami Dade College’s Arts and Literature Magazine- Miamibiance Magazine and has published poetry and a short film called “ The Writer.” He’s currently working as the Newsroom’s Researcher while finishing his Creative Writing Bachelor’s Degree at Florida State University. When he’s not tracking down news, Ryan likes watching films, writing fiction and poetry, and exploring Florida.