In an unexpected move, the Jacksonville City Council voted 5-1 to move its city offices to the Historic Courthouse. The motion to move offices was introduced by Councilor David Jesser during the March 18 regular session. At that time, Council was debating an agenda item related to the issue – whether to approve a $35,000 contract for preliminary electrical and mechanical design drawings that would be needed to refurbish the building. Councilor Jesser commented that it seemed counter-intuitive to approve the work since the council had not formally voted to move forward with the relocation in the first place. Jesser’s motion to that effect included a stipulation limiting the city’s financial exposure should future construction estimates prove too costly to complete the project. After Jim Lewis seconded the motion, council weighed-in, offering its opinions on the matter. Councilor Paul Hayes expressed concern that too many private offices might prove too costly. Councilor Criss Garcia felt the motion had merit and provided a working framework for staff instead of a piecemeal approach to the project. Councilor Jocie Wall objected to the concept and was the lone “no” vote on the matter. Council then voted unanimously to “green light” staff’s investigation of financing options for the project, notably, securing an Urban Renewal loan for $1 million.
Posted March 19, 2014