JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — $1.5 billion. That's the size of the budget for the city of Jacksonville during this fiscal year. And the office that brings in a lot of the money for the budget is up for election right now.
Property Appraiser has been an elected position in Jacksonville since 1992 and the candidates in this year's race have very different tactics in the election.
Property Values in Jacksonville are through the rood and that's boosted the available funds that the Mayor and City Council are able to spend.
"the amount of money they have to deal with, the amount of pie, that is determined by the property appraiser," said Andrew Pantazi of The Tributary, "that can have a big impact on how big of a budget we have for schools and city government."
The three people vying for this important position are Danny Becton, Jason Fischer and Joyce Morgan. They are politicians that our political analysts AG Gancarski of FloridaPolitics.com and Andrew Pantazi of The Tributary are very familiar with.
"They are all very clearly career politicians," said Gancarski.
Becton served two terms as a City Council member for District 11. Fischer served on the Duval County School Board before winning a seat in the Florida House of Representatives. Former tv news anchor Joyce Morgan served two terms as a City Council member for District 1. But which one will voters identify with?
"People want competence in that role, that want predictability and stability," said Gancarski, "whichever of these candidates say they can provide that and convince voters will ultimately prevail."
"Danny Becton is out there doing more of the retail politics," said Pantazi, "Danny Becton, businessman in southeast Jacksonville who first was a citizen engaged activist involved in the planning committee in southeast Jacksonville and became a City Councilman."
"I'm curious to see what Fischer will do because he's not actually been in city government," said Gancarski, "endorsed by Rob DeSantis, which is unusual for a property appraiser race, but he has a lot of Tallahassee endorsements, is that going to matter in a property appraiser race, we'll soon find out".
"Democrat Joyce Morgan, she's probably a lock to make the May election," said Pantazi, "and she comes from Arlington district one, one of the most important districts in the city. She's put in a lot of work with Arlington community meetings so being able to outrun the county wide vote in district one is a big factor."
The winner will determine property values. Taxes based on those assessments generate funds for the largest municipal budget in the state of Florida.