JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- There's a new effort to spend $8 million of local taxpayer money to combine two election offices into one new location in Duval County.
The driving force behind the proposed project is local Councilman Clay Yarborough. In the world of Jacksonville politics, that's a big shocker because he has a long record of pinching pennies.
City council members make tough decisions on spending taxpayers money. Next week, they'll tackle another big one. City Councilman Clay Yarborough wants to spend $8 million to consolidate two of the elections offices into one city owned building. The mayor isn't on board with the idea. "I do not support spending $8 million," said Mayor Brown.
Mayor Alvin Brown was pretty outspoken against it. Now some are questioning Yarborough's interest in this new office. "He's voted against every spending in the city. I can't imagine why all of the sudden he wanted to introduce a bill," said Mayor Brown.
Yarborough is normally known by his colleagues as the frugal board member. Action News did some digging and found out at the November 27th meeting, Yarborough was the only one who voted no on three different proposals to spend money. So, we took our questions straight to him. He said he's still the most frugal person on the board. We asked if he was going to run for the Supervisor of Elections office. He didn't rule it out. "That has come up. My wife and I are open to the future of public service. This part of the decision has not been made," said Yarborough.
But the mayor says that money is better spent elsewhere in the city. "We have other priorities that could put people back to work," said Yarborough.
Yarborough says this project will save taxpayers money in the long run. They won't be paying the $660 thousand a year in rent for the offices at the Gateway Mall center on the Northside. The mayor is in favor of using the city-owned Yates building, but Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland doesn't think that building is feasible.
The bill will officially be introduced to council on Tuesday.