JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Mayor Lenny Curry isn’t giving up the fight to remove the city’s last two Confederate monuments, despite city council voting down a resolution to fund the removals on Tuesday.
But the mayor can’t make it happen on his own.
He can’t spend more than $100,000 without council approval, far less than the kind of price tag removing the monuments would carry.
Based on Tuesday’s vote, at least four members still need to be convinced.
Tuesday’s vote came down after more than an hour of public testimony, with dozens coming to voice their opinions both for and against the statues’ removal.
Not commenting were the members of city council, who voted the measure down 13-5 with no debate.
Curry promised to remove the statues more than two years ago.
Despite the inaction from city council, on Thursday he indicated the fight is no lost cause.
“I think they should come down and I plan on including it in my budget,” said Curry.
Councilmember Matt Carlucci, who sponsored the bill shot down Tuesday, wanted to dedicate half a million dollars for the removal of the pillar in James Weldon Johnson Park and the Daughters of the Confederacy statue in Springfield Park.
The removal was initially pegged at $1.3 million, but Carlucci told us last week private donors had agreed to cover all additional costs.
“I will not reveal who they are, but they are very well known and so I’m not concerned about raising the rest of the money,” said Carlucci last Tuesday.
We asked the mayor if he could get around his $100,000 cap on discretionary spending by utilizing the private donors.
“I believe council has got to pass legislation in order to approve something of that financial magnitude,” said Curry.
We asked whether the mayor believes the council has the will to follow through with a budget request for the removals after the vote Tuesday night.
“Anybody in the public that wants to see a move on it, just keep making their voices heard,” said Curry.
ON CAM: “Whether those voices can reach the volume to sway four members is yet to be seen.”
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