Jacksonville Council President Ron Salem listens to a presentation about the Jaguars' stadium rebuild during a City Council workshop Wednesday, June 5, 2024. | Casmira Harrison, Jacksonville TodayJacksonville Council President Ron Salem listens to a presentation about the Jaguars' stadium rebuild during a City Council workshop Wednesday, June 5, 2024. | Casmira Harrison, Jacksonville Today
Jacksonville Council President Ron Salem listens to a presentation about the Jaguars' stadium rebuild during a City Council workshop Wednesday, June 5, 2024. | Casmira Harrison, Jacksonville Today

No meaningful objections arise as City Council considers stadium deal

Published on June 5, 2024 at 5:45 pm

In its first workshop to discuss a proposed stadium deal, the Jacksonville City Council on Wednesday seemed poised to approve the plan. 

Some members questioned details of the proposed $1.4 billion renovation of EverBank Stadium into what the Jaguars call “the Stadium of the Future.” But none of the council members in attendance voiced meaningful opposition to the proposal, which is expected to cost taxpayers $775 million for construction. 

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Early in the meeting, city leaders heard presentations from chief negotiator Mike Weinstein and Council Auditor Kim Taylor about how the city expected to pay for the planned renovations. The city has said it would pay for its $625 million construction portion, for the most part, by redirecting revenue from a half-penny sales tax, passed as “the Better Jacksonville Plan.” 

The deal is not expected to be voted on until later this month, but the consensus of council members present was that they would recommend approving the financing plan to the rest of City Council.

“Is this the plan that we want to recommend to the administration? Does anyone want to see any other financial plan presented of some sort? Or can we lay this to bed, so to speak?” Council President Ron Salem asked his colleagues.

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At-Large Councilman Matt Carlucci was the first to reply.

“I like the plan as it is and as it’s been presented today,” Carlucci said.

District 1 Councilman Ken Amaro agreed.

“I’m very satisfied and confident in what’s been delivered this morning,” Amaro said. “This puts us in a good posture to not burden our city, but get things done.”

City leaders also discussed other aspects of the draft legislation — and had plenty of questions throughout the meeting. 

Discussions in part covered a nonrelocation agreement that spells out how the city would be made whole if the team ever failed to fulfill its obligation to Jacksonville and left the city. The agreement requires the Jaguars to stay in town for at least 30 more years.

Councilman Nick Howland, eying Jaguars penalty terms, wanted more data from the Council Auditor’s Office regarding possible interest accrued on penalties. But overall, he seemed pleased with the deterrent thus far.

The penalty forces the team to pay $775 million if it moves within 15 years after the stadium renovation is concluded in 2028, dropping 6.5% each following year if the team leaves between years 16 and 30 of the deal.

“That’s actually more protective than I anticipated,” Howland said, provided the penalty includes interest the city paid up to the point of breach of contract.

More committee workshops are expected, but the overall legislation is set to be voted up or down on June 25. A public hearing on the plan is set for 5 p.m. June 17 at City Hall.


author image Reporter

Casmira Harrison is a Jacksonville Today reporter focusing on local government in Duval County.

author image Reporter

Casmira Harrison is a Jacksonville Today reporter focusing on local government in Duval County.


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