Supervisor of Elections office may move after building problems and foreclosure | News

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Supervisor of Elections office may move after building problems and foreclosure
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The building that houses the Supervisor of Elections office is going through foreclosure. Now the City of Jacksonville is looking at other options of where to place the office. If the SOE is moved, it will be after the general election in November.

You may have been there to vote. The Supervisor of Elections has been in the building at Gateway Shopping Center since August 2006.

RELATED: More elections coverage at Political Florida

"The city pays a monthly bill of somewhere around $55,000 a month," said Jerry Holland, Duval County's supervisor of elections.

Now, city council members who are coordinating the change are wondering why the city has spent so much money for a building that has had so many problems.

"The city has been paying him a lot of money. I don't know where that money has been going to, but it has clearly not been going to maintain the facility, paying the real estate taxes and taking care of the nuts and bolts of what the facility should be done," Jacksonville City Councilman Schellenburg said.

Holland said there have been problems with the building throughout the years. 

"Our biggest issues have been leaks, not having access upstairs with the escalator, and the air conditioning shutting down," he explained.

Now, there's another problem.

"They are in foreclosure, from my understanding, ownership could change in July. It gives the owner one last chance to rectify the debt," Holland said.

The office could have the opportunity to stay in the building, but Holland said they have good reasons for wanting to move.

"But they can't make capital improvements until they take ownership," Holland said.

The city is considering six options for a new location. Some downtown, the rest are within four miles of downtown. Holland said the most of these options include the city buying, instead of renting. He said the price tag could be between $6 million to $10 million. We asked about those numbers.

"That's one reason the city council said 'I'm not sure we want to lease, I think it would be better to own a building, because we've already spent here probably close to $5 million with the amount we've spent on rent, as well as the improvements we've made in the building.'"

We contacted Carlton Jones from the ownership group. 
We also contacted the Mayor's office to ask why the city did not look at other options earlier. As of Thursday evening, First Coast News has not heard back. 

We understand the building will be in a foreclosure sale in July. In the meantime, next Wednesday, a council subcommittee will look at the options for a new location.

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