JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- New legislation is on the table at city hall designed to save taxpayer money. It says the city shouldn't build another building while it owns buildings that sit empty.
"It amplifies the point that, hey, if we have vacant city buildings available or vacant space whether it's at City Hall or the Ed Ball building or wherever we have it, look at the options we have there," said City Councilman Clay Yarborough.
Yarborough says the issue came about after Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland proposed consolidating his two current offices into a new facility. He's eying a place in LaVilla. But Yarborough says that plan would require new construction.
"We've looked at all of these spaces and some private spaces and seen that we don't have anything that fits what the needs are of that particular office."
The new legislation does have that exception: if no vacant building works, then you can build.
But starting from an old shell comes with its challenges. The old federal courthouse building is supposed to be the new home of the State Attorney's Office. Its makeover is part of the $350 million Duval County Courthouse project.
But the bids are in and City Council President Bill Bishop says even the low bidder is over the city's allotted funding. So now, its back to the drawing board. Bishop says they're working with low bidder Morganti to figure out what can be cut out to get the cost down.
"That can be a costly thing," Yarborough said. "But if you have a space that's available for maybe a smaller use or it just doesn't matter I say let's use it and use up some of that empty space."
As for the Supervisor of Elections, Yarborough is presenting his amended bill Tuesday night to move forward with building a new facility at the LaVilla site. He says if they can start construction now, it can be completed before the next big election in the fall of 2014.