JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The City of Jacksonville owns eight properties worth nearly $27 million. But right now, the city is shoveling money into these eyesores without a financial return.
"I don’t know if we are throwing money away but it's certainly not a prudent fiscal policy,” said City Councilman John Crescimbeni.
Crescimbeni says with budget belts tightening, every dollar must be examined within city government. “What is it costing us to maintain these buildings and more importantly what's the plan to unload them into a cash asset as opposed to a continuing obligation asset.”
So how much is the upkeep for these unused properties costing taxpayers? Here’s a breakdown for a couple of the most valuable sites.
You’re paying an annual cost of $3,988 for electricity and $2,587 for water at the Armory at 851 N. Market Street. Electricity at the Snyder Memorial Building, 226 N. Laura Street, costs $6,688 annually.
Costs for the city's most valuable vacant building, the $19 million old Duval County courthouse, have not been calculated. According to public works director Jim Robinson, there are currently minimal maintenance costs of vacant COJ-owned buildings because it's done on an as-needed basis.
Crescimbeni says sitting empty is a missed economic opportunity. “We'd be better off to both sell the property and be released from maintenance obligations or rent the property and get a revenue stream."