JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — On Monday, Mayor Lenny Curry and Sheriff Mike Williams said collaboration will be key to ending violence in Jacksonville as they both begin their second term.
Action News Jax reporter Courtney Cole was at the Times Union Center for the inauguration ceremony Monday morning. Cole said the mayor is looking ahead to his second term and his priorities for the next four years.
Cole asked Curry what he’s going to do differently in this term, compared to his last. He told Cole that he’s proud of what he’s accomplished so far but he’s 100% committed to every neighborhood in the city.
“There is no complacency set in with me. As I said in my speech, no pat on the back on celebrating our wins,” Curry said.
Curry told the crowd inside the Jacoby Symphony Hall that he plans to make bold moves to focus on developing Downtown Jacksonville.
"In four years, you won't recognize downtown. I mean it. I’m 100% committed to making downtown the heart of this community,” Curry said.
On Monday, he described his vision as a “vibrant urban core” that will expand economic development to neighborhoods throughout the city.
Curry said he not only wants the city to look good but feel good for neighbors and visitors.
That's why the mayor said public safety will always be a priority for him.
"Anytime there's an act of violence perpetrated on another person, it's the most frustrating. It saddens me. It frustrates me. It aggravates me. I'm just going to remain focused on that,” Curry said.
Curry, however, did not talk about the elephant in the room -- the half-cent sales tax -- during his inauguration speech. But after the ceremony concluded, he said he wants to see a more thoughtful, fiscally responsible plan from the school board first.
“A plan that tells us if the school board is collecting tax dollars for infrastructure work. How are they going to spend those dollars? What specifically is the first school they're going to do? What's the work that's going to be done?” Curry asked.
Curry said they’ve been talking to the Duval County School Board and expect that they will collaborate and work toward a plan. “I'll be supportive of a November 2020 ballot initiative. I'll be all in,” Curry said.
Whatever challenges he may face, Dr. John Guns, of St. Paul Church of Jacksonville, charged the community with sticking by Curry for the next for years.
"Let's ride, driven by compassion, fueled by love, inspired by vision!. Let's become the best we can be, mayor, sheriff and all of Jacksonville. Let's make the next four years we've ever had!" Guns said.
Curry said he anticipates pushback and disagreements, but believes it’s healthy and a necessary part of progress.
“You like to hear those dissenting points of view,” Sheriff Mike Williams said.
During his first term, Williams worked with Curry to put 180 new officers on the street, to hire 700 new officers to replace the retiring ones and to introduce game-changing technology such as the National Intergrated Ballistic Information Network or NIBIN, ShotSpotter and the real-time crime center.
“Every neighborhood deserves to be safe. We will not stop working. We will not stop partnering until that's a reality for the city,” Williams said.
Despite those successes, Williams said that one of the things the agency is still working on is getting the appropriate number of officers on the street.
“The number the mayor and I have been working towards for the last four years -- think about it -- that number is 10 years old. We want to get ahead of this, maybe once and for all,” Williams said.
The sheriff said there are plans for an assessment team to come in to help with that.
Williams said the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is also always working to improve transparency.
"I think transparency is important. It helps to build trust in the community — something that we have to continue to work on every single day," he said.
Williams also talked to Action News Jax about another thing on everyone’s mind: moving the jail.
He said there is not definite timetable for when that will happen, but he believes the conversation needs to get started.
Williams also said the conversation shouldn’t just be around building a new jail or moving it, but about building a mental health facility, too.
The sheriff told Action News Jax more than 30% of the inmates at the jail have some sort of mental health issue.
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