Neighbors demand answers about COJ’s investment in Jacksonville communities

Funding underserved communities

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The $1.3 billion budget for the city of Jacksonville is passed.

The largest part of that budget — 36% — goes to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

Action News Jax’s Courtney Cole began looking through the budget, taking a closer look at the funding dedicated to four underserved districts.

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Those are districts 7, 8, 9, and 10.

Mayor Lenny Curry said more than 30% of his infrastructure budget will go into those districts.

But when we’re talking money for infrastructure — that’s another way of saying the city is investing in things like fixing and resurfacing roads and sidewalks.

Community leaders said they’d like to see that money spent in ways to bring opportunities for economic success.

“Wake up, Mr. Mayor! Wake up, City Council!”

Ben Frazier of the Northside Coalition told Action News Jax he’s not satisfied with the lack of spending in districts 7, 8, 9, and 10 — predominantly Black communities in Jacksonville.

“The bottom line is that for years, city officials have been writing blank checks in predominantly white communities and neighborhoods,” Frazier said.

The activist said the north and east sides need more job creation, more help for small businesses, and more development.

“The idea that this administration in this council has not invested in communities are simply not true,” said Curry.

According to numbers Cole got from City Council, the amount of money districts 7, 8, 9, and 10 will receive this year are up from last year.

Cole emailed the council member from districts 7, 8, 9, and 10 to learn exactly how they have been using the money in their areas.

Only Councilman Garrett Dennis responded before this article was published.

He told Cole the increase in spending doesn’t mean neighbors see those dollars directly.