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Council Member Becton Holds Town Hall for the Sourthern Communities of District 11

District 11 Council Member (CM) Danny Becton continues to make every effort to communicate with district residents. On November 13, 2017 he held another town hall, at Bartram Trail Elementary School. City officials in attendance included: Stephanie Burch - Neighborhoods and Community Services, Chief Kurt Wilson - Jacksonville Fire & Rescue, Director Daryl Joseph - Parks & Recreation, Operation Director Bill Joyce - Public Works, Chief Chris Lead - Traffic Engineering, and Lt. Shelton - Jacksonville Sheriff Department.

As his custom, CM Becton began the meeting with a short presentation detailing a District 11 overview, legislative bills he has sponsored and legislation that was passed regarding the new 2017-2018 city budget that he helped craft as the Vice-Chair of the Finance committee.

Highlights of the meeting included an announcement that a new fire station has been funded for the Baymeadows East area. CM Becton is working with Fire Chief Kurt Wilson to find a suitable location. One of the problems of being such a prosperous district is that property costs in District 11 are among the highest in the city, if you can even find available real estate at all for that use. CM Becton is working diligently to explore all properties available hoping to find the right property suitable, in the right location for this new facility as we speak.

Director of Neighborhoods, Stephanie Burch was also on hand to provide a presentation and explain the City’s Neighborhood Beautification and Enhancement Program that will match a Home Owners Association’s contribution up to $5,000 to implement an approved project, if selected. HOAs interested in taking advantage of this program should contact the city’s Neighborhoods Department at 630-7200.

There was a short discussion about increasing the number of routes and increasing the convenience of using public transportation in the district. CM Becton discussed having already engaged the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) about increasing services within the District and hopes to see progress in the near future.

Also, announced was the recently signed Memorandum of Agreement (“MOA”) signed between Duval and St. Johns counties that will provide quicker police response times for priority-one type calls. This agreement was a response to a previous town hall meeting where residents in the southern part of Duval had these concerns.

In explaining further, priority one calls are serious crimes like burglaries in progress and cases of violence. It is important that residents upon calling 911, declare their emergencies and provide as much details as possible. Upon receipt by the dispatcher of a priority one call, if JSO is not immediately available, the 911 system will contact the St. Johns County Sheriff Department to provide coverage until JSO arrives.

In other police news, JSO is looking for a stop station in the southern part of the county to allow for officers to have a place to complete reports and to take breaks. It would also encourage officers to get out of their cars and interact with residents and business owners in the area.

CM Becton in addition encouraged residents to join and participate in the Sheriff’s Watch program. It’s a once-a-month meeting with area JSO to allow community interaction with meetings usually lasting only for about 1 - 2 hours. This interaction allows the opportunity to learn about crime trends in the area as well as to discuss community issues directly to your JSO officer and commander. Call 630-2160 to get more information on attending or joining Sheriff’s Watch and continue to check CM Becton’s web site for future meeting dates and times.

Traffic was a hot topic. However, many of the problems facing the southern portion of the district may be caused by the construction projects like 9B and the upcoming Town Center shopping development in St. Johns County. CM Becton said developing an on-going working relationship with St. Johns County commissioners in the future would be important to find ways to alleviate future traffic congestion given the adjoining border. By working together, he said the two counties may be able to coordinate with Florida Department of Transportation projects and priorities.

In closing the meeting, CM Becton reminded residents that if they have a city problem the first course of action is to phone 630-CITY (2489) Jacksonville’s clearing house for resolving citizen complaints or go online to www.630city.coj.net and file a case. Also available is the phone app, “My Jax”. Download it from the Droid or Apple store and get connected today. See the website www.coj.net/categories/mobile-apps/myjax.aspx for more information.

Community Town Hall Meeting for D11 South