Support Outweighs Opposition Regarding Fire Services Contracting to City of Jacksonville
The Public Opinion Research Lab at the University of North Florida has a new poll of registered voters in Jacksonville Beach that indicates majority support for the Jacksonville Beach City Council calling for a referendum about the proposed Fire Service Agreement between the City of Jacksonville and Jacksonville Beach. The survey also shows that support is greater than opposition regarding contracting out its fire services to the City of Jacksonville.
The poll shows that 61% of respondents believe that the Jacksonville Beach City Council should call for a binding referendum to approve the terms and conditions of the Fire Service Agreement, with 26% saying the City Council shouldn’t call for a referendum. Respondents who didn’t know or refused to answer regarding the referendum were at 13%. Among Democrats, support for a referendum is at 67%, with Republicans supporting at 58%.
“There is a lot of uncertainty that revolves around this agreement, especially on how the City of Jacksonville will comply contractually over time,” said Andrew Hopkins, assistant director of the Public Opinion Research Lab at UNF. “Even though there isn’t a majority push one way or the other on this issue, there is a majority of Jax Beach residents who would like to see a referendum.”
Similarly, 46% indicate that they support the City of Jacksonville Beach contracting out its fire services to the City of Jacksonville. Forty-one percent oppose contracting out fire services, while 13% don’t know/refused to answer. Support is somewhat evenly distributed among Democrats and Republicans, with 43% and 45% supporting, respectively. In terms of familiarity, 39% claim to not be familiar at all with the Fire Service Agreement, with 28% claiming to be slightly familiar, 24% moderately familiar, and 10% extremely familiar.
“Moving to a referendum may prolong this decision to November or March of next year, which could impact Jax Beach Fire Department negatively; however, the additional time may be just what residents need to become more familiar with this agreement,” Hopkins said.
Crime is believed to be the most important problem facing Jacksonville Beach, according to 21% of respondents, followed by homelessness at 15%. Among Democrats and Republicans, crime is the most important problem at 21% and 20% respectively. Democrats’ second most popular choice is the environment at 13%, while Republicans’ second choice is still homelessness at 18%. The poll also asked respondents about short-term vacation rentals. Out of all the ordinances that the City of Jacksonville Beach has discussed adding to their regulations regarding short-term vacation rentals, the requirement to comply with all other City regulations, maximum occupancy limitations and off-street parking standards all garnered over 50% support (63%, 58%, and 56% respectively).
“It’s time for the city to begin addressing short-term rentals, and I think it’s safe to say that residents want to see increased regulations on these types of properties in Jacksonville Beach,” said Hopkins. “Adding some of these proposed ordinances will help protect the health and safety of residents, as well as plan for growth.”
For details about the methodology of the survey and additional crosstabs by partisanship, sex, education, race, and age, click here.
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