Bill Type and Number: Ordinance 2007-401


Sponsor: Council President at the request of the Mayor


Date of Introduction: April 10, 2007


Committee(s) of Reference: F, TEUS


Date of Analysis: April 13, 2007


Type of Action: Approval of multi-year project funding plan; authorization of special revenue bond issue; CIP amendment; authorization to engage design and construction professionals; extension of portions of, and repeal of portions of, prior ordinances; policy direction to maintain use of a city street


Bill Summary: The bill provides for a revised plan for financing and construction of a new approximately 15-story, $316 million county criminal and civil courthouse on the site previously prepared for that use on the western edge of downtown.  The bill approves a future $52.5 million special revenue bond issue to finance construction of the project in conjunction with existing Better Jacksonville Plan funds and other court-related funding sources. The bill amends the 2006-11 Capital Improvement Program to authorize priority 1 status for the elements and phases encompassed within the reconfigured “Duval County Courthouse Facilities Project” (see attached).  The bill authorizes the Mayor to engage consultants, design professionals, construction firms, and other professional assistance necessary to design and construct the new courthouse. 


The bill extends the appointment of the Courthouse Architectural Review Committee established via Ordinance 2004-1339-E to review and approve the design of the exterior of the facility.  The bill restricts the use of the funds to the uses specified in the attached Duval County Courthouse, provides that the Mayor may consider authorizing use of program contingency funds to address requests made by the Chief Judge for reasonable additions to the courthouse program, and provides for an appeals mechanism to the City Council should the Mayor deny a request of the Chief Judge costing $100,000 or more.  Finally, the bill declares that the courthouse location will not cause a permanent closure of Monroe Street.


Background Information: The project documentation proposes a courthouse of 15 stories, plus a penthouse and basement, encompassing a total of 611,000 square feet.  Of that amount, 509,000 sq. ft. would be finished initially and 102,000 would be left as empty shelled space.  The project also includes renovation of the old Federal Courthouse (205,560 sq. ft.) for use by the State Attorney and allocation of 60,000 sq. ft. in the Ed Ball Building to house the Public Defender’s Office.  The project, at completion, would house 29 criminal courtrooms, 15 civil courtrooms and 60 judicial offices.  Twenty-five criminal courtrooms, 11 civil courtrooms and 52 judicial offices would be completed in the initial construction phase.


Policy Impact Area: Courthouse construction


Fiscal Impact: The total project budget is approximately $316 million, of which $58.5 million has already been expended and $52.5 million of which would be provided by a bond issue in FY09-10.


Analyst: Clements