Duval Elections Center's Future in LImbo | News
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Duval County Elections Center in the Gateway Shopping Center has a lot of problems.
"There is a mold problem and the air conditioning system does not work properly to name a few," said Jerry Holland.
Holland is supervisor of elections and while he runs the center for counting ballots,training poll workers and storing election equipment. The city pays the rent.
"I don't think we're getting our dollar's worth out of that building," said Holland.
It is a month to month lease that cost taxpayers $600,000 a year.
The Gateway Shopping Center has other issues, the owner is facing a foreclosure lawsuit.
"Because of foreclosure there is an uncertainty right now." said Holland.
Holland said he has asked the Alvin Brown administration for a plan in case they get locked out between now and November. But he has yet to see one.
"For at least two months, I've been asking for a sit down and plan a contingency plan," he said.
The elections center is in Councilman Johnny Gaffney's district. Gaffney said he too has been asking the mayor's staff for a contingency plan for the elections center.
"This morning, last week, last several weeks," said Gaffney, "and nothing."
He said the permanent solution could be a private developer's proposal to build a new election headquarters at State and Main. That's where the old Park View Inn was located, but the future of the current center is in limbo without a back up plan.
"I'm disappointed, I'm frustrated. I think we should be proactive, it is just good business sense,' said Gaffney.
There are two planned elections this year, the August primary and November general. Holland said if he has to move from the Gateway Shopping Center in a hurry, it will take a minimum of 45 days.
"That's why we've got to have a plan B," he said.
Jacksonville's General Counsel Cindy Laquidara said the court just ordered that rent paid to the shopping center be sequestered, and not given to a receivership.
Laquidara plans to meet with Holland next week to determine if the landlord is in compliance with the month to month lease and to see what Holland wants to do.
Laquidara said if the elections center is moved from the Gateway center "it will be our choice."