Finance Committee Special Meeting Minutes

May 3, 2017

Immediately following 9:00 a.m. Finance Committee meeting


Topic: Military Affairs and Veterans Department presentation


Location: City Council Chamber, 1st floor, City Hall – St. James Building, 117 West Duval Street


In attendance: Council Members Anna Lopez Brosche (Chair), Matt Schellenberg, Greg Anderson, Sam Newby, Aaron Bowman Katrina Brown

Excused: Council Member Bill Gulliford


Also: Kyle Billy and Kim Taylor – Council Auditor’s Office; Peggy Sidman – Office of General Counsel; Jeff Clements  – Council Research Division; Crystal Shemwell and Adri Segui – Legislative Services Division; Ali Korman Shelton – Mayor’s Office; Bill Spann – Military Affairs and Veterans Services Department


Meeting Convened: 11:27 a.m.


Chairwoman Brosche called the meeting to order and called on Bill Spann, Director of the Military Affairs and Veterans (MAV) Department, to make his presentation. Mr. Spann began by saying that under the Mayor Curry administration all City departments are becoming very data driven. His department had 8,456 individual contacts with veterans in the 5-county Northeast Florida region in FY15-16 (including transient veterans passing through the area) and has provided services to 6,050 veterans thus far in FY16-17. Those veterans collectively received approximately $23.5 million in funds related to their military service through the Veteran’s Administration last year, so they have a substantial economic impact on the community. MAV Veterans Services Officers are trained to represent veterans before the Veterans Administration and frequently do, walking veterans through the sometimes complicated applications and processes required to access services and benefits.


Mr. Spann noted that 18.6% of veterans have been diagnosed with one of the seven conditions associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He said that the $1 million grant received by the City from the Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation is providing $200,000 per year (the grant is current in its fourth year) to be used to make direct cash distributions in the form of small grants to veterans who are down on their luck and undergoing hard times for purposes such as paying utility bills to avoid service cutoff or making deposits to enable them to rent apartments. The small grants in a time of need have a huge impact on veterans’ lives. MAV also coordinates the services of other volunteers and agencies to provide veterans with access to free legal aid, free tax filing, and career counseling. Veterans Services Officers do frequent outreach through libraries and houses of faith to reach veterans who may benefit from the services available. MAV also manages annual events such as the Memorial Day celebration at the veteran’s memorial wall, the homeless veteran stand-down, and military spouse recognition day. Council Member Brown asked for printed materials on the programs and services at MAV that she can distribute to her constituents. The committee members extended congratulations to Mr. Spann and his staff of the good work done by the department.



Meeting Adjourned: 11:46 a.m.


Minutes: Jeff Clements, Council Research

            5.5.17   Posted 11:00 a.m.

Tapes:  Finance Special Meeting– LSD