JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- City councilman Matt Schellenberg submitted legislation to Mayor Alvin Brown Thursday, proposing that the city sell JEA. City council president Bill Bishop says this isn't the first time this idea has come to the table.
Action News asked City Council President Bill Bishop, Why do you think it hasn't passed before? "I don't believe that it's a good deal for the city to sell it. We are in a very good position owning our own utility company," he said.
But Schellenberg says this might be the only solution for the city's financial problems. "This is not a gold box for politicians to get their hands on. It is strictly to clean up the mess that we've gotten ourselves into over the last 10-12 years," says Schellenberg.
But Bishop says he's concerned that if JEA were sold, the city would lose control over the utility, including, appointing its board members. "The private investor owned utility tends to be a little less responsive if you will to the community at large," says Bishop.
Action News reached out to JEA for a response to Schellenberg's inquiry. They gave us this statement. "JEA is aware of Councilman Schellenberg's thoughts on the role of JEA as a revenue source for the city and understands his desire to investigate the feasibility of selling JEA. On this matter and any other, we are always open to a full and transparent dialogue with the City Council and the City about JEA's business."
Schellenberg says at this stage, all he wants to do is find out what JEA is worth to a private entity, and go from there.