JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Duval County Legislative Delegation delayed a vote on whether to move forward a plan to create a special taxing district for the city’s library system.
Voters will take part in a straw ballot during the August primary election which will gauge support for the idea. The district could levy up to one mill in property taxes to fund libraries in Jacksonville. Advocates say it will provide a more secure funding source for the library, but opponents say it could lead to tax increases to make up for revenue shortfalls elsewhere.
Some lawmakers seemed to question the need for the Legislature to get involved.
“If you want better control, you’ve got a library board,” said Rep. Lake Ray, R-Jacksonville. “You take better control over that and fund that from the city level instead of what appears to be a little bit of a shell game here.”
City Council members responded that the effort for the district is coming from the citizens. Thousands of signatures on petitions supporting the ballot measure were turned in this week.
“The citizens are saying this is a very important issue to the citizens of Jacksonville and we need to fix this problem once and for all and kind of depoliticize it,” said John Crescimbeni, Council Member at Large for Group 2.
The state legislators opted to wait until the City Council takes action on the plan before scheduling another meeting on the issue.
If voters support the proposal in the straw ballot, lawmakers have to decide whether a binding referendum would take place in November 2014 or in 2016.