It is hard to believe that it has been 37 years since I first served as mayor of the city of Jacksonville.
In that time I have seen a great deal of changes to our area including being named a home to the PGA Tour and an NFL city.
But the heart of our city has always been and will always be our rivers and waterways. It is important that we protect our natural resources and our greatest asset to ensure that we remain a top-tier city.
In November 2014 the voters of Florida overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the Florida Constitution to support and protect conservation across our state.
This measure provided that one-third of excise taxes paid when transferring property be placed in a trust fund for the purpose of conserving and protecting Florida’s precious lands and waterways.
This money is collected throughout the state and held in the Land Acquisition Trust Fund, which was designed to protect drinking water resources, wetlands, beaches and shores, to manage natural systems and enhance access and recreational use of conservation lands.
Certainly a fair share of monies comes from our area including Nocatee, one of the fastest growing communities in the country.
More home sales equals more taxes. It is only fair that these funds be distributed around the state and not just to water hungry regions or special projects in areas like South Florida.
Recently, Councilman Matt Schellenberg introduced a resolution before the City Council to send a message to our state representatives to take back to Tallahassee, informing them that the people of Jacksonville need and deserve our fair share of this money.
I applaud the efforts of Schellenberg and the other members of the City Council who voted in support for demonstrating the leadership and vision to stand up for our community.
I have always been and will always be a fierce advocate for my hometown and the city I love.
That’s why I am an executive committee member of Stand Up North Florida, a group dedicated to ensuring that North Florida receives their fair share of state conservation funding — funding that is currently overwhelmingly going to South Florida.
In fact last year, South Florida received more than 75 percent of all state dollars appropriated for water quality projects. The quality of our natural resources directly relates to the quality of life in our great city.
We must continue to fight for our fair share of the pie.
Our future and that of our children and grandchildren depend on this funding.
Jake Godbold, former mayor,