Ortega Point property owners to decide on utility conversion

Ortega property owners from Grand Avenue north to Ortega Boulevard, which swings around the point south to Manitou Avenue, met with the Jacksonville Energy Authority late last year to discuss a proposed project to convert the existing overhead utility service underground.

The JEA conversion program focuses on undergrounding overhead electric, telephone, cable television, communication or other overhead distribution line facilities located within the public rights of way in a defined neighborhood boundary.

To enter the conversion program, 75 percent of the property owners within a neighborhood must agree to the program by petition, and 100 percent will be assessed a pro rata portion of the total cost of the project, if approved by City Council.

Currently, neighborhood block captains are relaying preliminary study information to residents and identifying interested property owners, as well as obtaining signatures necessary to get the required level of commitment before the project can move forward for more detailed review.

If the neighborhood expresses 75 percent participation by petition and pays the requisite $100 per property fee (minimum of $1,500 and maximum of $5,000), a certified estimate will be prepared outlining more refined project costs. Once the certified estimates are provided to a neighborhood, the owners may reconsider their commitment based on the certified costs.

Again, 75 percent of the benefited property owners must sign a petition to agree to a special assessment for the costs before the petition is submitted to the Jacksonville City Council for formal consideration.

If approved by the Council, 100 percent of benefited property owners will be assessed the costs. If approved by the City Council (only after the required level of participation by petition is demonstrated and the Council agrees), an annual assessment is added to each owner’s property tax bill for a benefited property for all pro rata costs of the project including financing costs for a period of years as specified in the approved assessment. The assessment is billed on the property tax bill until paid in full by each benefited owner.

If you live in the Ortega Point North community and are interested in converting your utilities from overhead to underground, contact JEA Project Outreach at (904) 665-7500 or [email protected]

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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