JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-- Jacksonville city council passed a new plan Tuesday requiring vacant properties being given a first look before constructing a new building.
Vacant buildings sit empty, but still cost taxpayers money.
"Right now we're paying utilities," said Councilman Reggie Brown.
That's money that Brown says could be better spent elsewhere. He's hoping that's what this new law will do.
With a 14 to 3 vote, a new law passed Tuesday saying vacant city owned properties now have first consideration over building new ones.
Brown says the proposal came after the controversy over whether to build a new multi-million dollar Supervisor of Elections office or keep paying a lease for the current rundown building on the Northside.
"I didn't want to have another two supervisor of elections offices," said Brown.
But the passing of the ordinance didn't come without some debate.
"I think there are potential unintentional consequences," said Councilman Gregg Anderson.
"One side or the other has to say I don't find a suitable space," said City Council President Bill Bishop.
The big question council members had is who defines what suitable is. That's why this bill requires a 2/3 vote by council to utilize a different building or build a new one if the city already has a suitable space.