Frequently Asked Questions about Water Main Extensions

 
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Neighborhoods within the city of Jacksonville interested in extending a JEA water main into their neighborhood may do so by following a special assessment process. In accordance with the City of Jacksonville's Neighborhood Assessment Program Ordinance #2019-321-E, the program provides a means for neighborhoods to finance such projects. The guidelines for this process are shown below.   

For More Information About the Program:

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Closed Title:1. How does a neighborhood get a project approved?
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JEA staff will consult with interested neighborhood representatives or groups to explain the program.  JEA will make a preliminary inspection/survey of the neighborhood to identify a feasible physical project from a water system operations standpoint.  

The preliminary study data, including boundaries and preliminary costs, will be provided to the designated neighborhood representative. The neighborhood representative will be responsible for talking with the property owners to gain required participation levels.  JEA representatives will attend neighborhood meetings as requested to explain the water main extension process and special assessment process, and may be accompanied by representatives from the City as needed. JEA and The City of Jacksonville will not market or be responsible for seeking the required neighborhood participation.  JEA will assist in providing information and project guidance.

The neighborhood representative(s) will take the preliminary study information back to the property owners within a selected area and work to get the required level of commitment before a project can move forward for more detailed review. When the neighborhood finds general support for the project area and sufficient participation, a NAP estimate will be prepared outlining more refined project costs. 

Once the NAP estimates are provided to a neighborhood, the owners may reconsider their commitment based on the NAP costs. Two-thirds (2/3) of the benefited property owners must sign a petition to agree to a special assessment for the costs before the petition is submitted to the Jacksonville City Council for formal consideration. The petition should be submitted to JEA with a check for the petition fee made payable to the Duval County Tax Collector.  The petition fee is currently $10 per lot, parcel or other unit of property. View COJ.net for fees. An additional fee for required advertisement of a public hearing will be required with submittal of the petition to the City’s Legislative Services, the amount to be calculated with petition submittal. If approved by the Council, 100% of benefited property owners will be assessed actual costs of the completed project on a pro-rata basis. 

The program is currently available only in the City of Jacksonville and may be available in other JEA service areas at a future date.

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Closed Title:2. What should be included with petition submittal?
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A petition signature page for each property signed by a legal owner (from deed of record), a Temporary Construction Easement and Connection Agreement signed by each property owner and a check for petition fee as noted in item #1 above.

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Closed Title:3. What is a special assessment?
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A special assessment is a legally imposed assessment on a property that may be approved by the Jacksonville City Council after petition from interested property owners. Generally, a certain percentage of owners within a project area must request and agree to an assessment (by signing a petition) asking for a capital project to be constructed and financed over time that will benefit the property owners.  If approved by the City Council (only after the required level of participation by petition is demonstrated and the Council agrees), an annual assessment is added to each owner’s property tax bill for a benefited property for all pro rata costs of the project including financing costs for a period of years as specified in the approved assessment. The assessment is billed on the property tax bill until paid in full by each benefited owner. 

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Closed Title:4. Are individual water service connections required?
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Individual service connections are required by the City and JEA from the right of way to the structure for those owners signing a petition. Owners may elect to connect at their own additional expense by hiring a private plumber during the project or at some future point.  If opted during project construction, service connection costs may be financed as a separate portion of the assessment. 
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Closed Title:5. Can the connection costs for individual services be financed through the special assessment?
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The connection costs for individual services may be financed through the special assessment   process as a separate item if the owner so elects during the petition process.  The City and JEA reserve the right to reject individual service connection financing through the special assessment if the work is not done by a licensed plumber or if the work is not permitted. No internal dwelling or structure plumbing upgrades will be included in the connections costs that can be financed.  Property owners should consult with JEA prior to having work performed if individual service connection cost financing is desired.
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Closed Title:6. Are there any programs to assist with individual connection costs in lieu of financing through the special assessment?
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Yes. The City of Jacksonville’s Utility Tap-In Program (UTIP) offers deferred payment loans to assist qualified low to moderate-income residents citywide with water line connection fees and associated plumbing costs. The program is subject to available funding and qualification of applicants. The loan does not have to be repaid if you live in the home for an additional five (5) years. 

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Closed Title:7. Can a property owner install their own plumbing lines and make the connection to the JEA line?
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Yes. Property owners (verified through the Property Appraiser’s Office) may perform the connection on private property provided all State of Florida plumbing codes are followed and conditions outlined by the City of Jacksonville have been met.

For more information, contact the City of Jacksonville Building Inspection Division:

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Closed Title:8. Can the property owner keep their well for irrigation or for other use outside of home?
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Yes. Property owners can continue to use private wells for outdoor use and non-potable purposes, provided a backflow prevention device is installed. The backflow prevention device should be installed within 10-feet of the JEA water meter, on private property.
Learn more about backflow prevention

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Closed Title:9. What is a backflow prevention device and why do I need it?
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A backflow preventer is a mechanical device used to protect potable water supplies from contamination by preventing water from entering the public water supply. 
Learn more about backflow prevention

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Closed Title:10. Why is there a 7% fee added to the annual assessment?
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The City of Jacksonville’s Tax Collector’s Office charges a 2.0% fee and the Property Appraiser a 1.5% fee to cover their administrative costs. Special assessments are billed and collected through the property tax bill.  Since all items on a property tax bill are eligible for early payment discounts based on the month paid before March each year, the full funding advanced by JEA should be recovered.  The average payment discount across property owners is 3.6% based on information provided by the Tax Collector’s office. JEA uses an average of 3.5% to cover early payment discount recovery. 
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Closed Title:11. When 2/3 of the neighborhood has agreed to participate in the project by signing the required petition, what are the next steps?
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The proposed project petition will be submitted on behalf of the requesting customers by JEA for consideration by City Council. The Council will schedule a public hearing that will be advertised for four consecutive weeks before the hearing. If the City Council passes the Ordinance, a copy of the full petition with a list of included real estate identification numbers will be publicly recorded with the Duval County Clerk of Court in order to provide notice of the pending assessment while the project is being constructed.  Design and construction of the project will begin soon after the Ordinance is passed.  Once the project is complete and the actual costs have been approved for the special assessment roll by the City Council, the assessments will commence during the soonest following tax cycle. 

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Closed Title:12. What if the ordinance is passed and the property transfers ownership, who will assume the remaining assessment?
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The special assessment will be noticed through the petition recording noted in item 11 above or as a special assessment line item on the real estate tax assessment. A property owner selling property can pay the assessment in full or the buyer can assume the assessment. This will be a decision that is made between the buyer and seller prior to the transfer of ownership.
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Closed Title:13. Will the construction cause a lot of digging and inconvenience?
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Construction will occur in the City’s rights of way, streets and easements. There will be     times when the road will have limited access while the water main is being installed. JEA will maintain the flow of traffic, although residents may experience some minor delays.

Where digging or trenching is required, the neighborhood paving and landscaping will be restored during the project to a similar condition as before the project began. Specialized materials or elaborate landscaping or hardscaping installed within the existing City right of way by adjacent property owners as an extension of their yards may only be replaced by City standard materials (paving and landscaping).

Prior to construction start, property owners may wish to temporarily remove specialized materials for reinstallation after project completion.

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Closed Title:14. Will there be a significant impact to trees in the right of way?
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JEA will make a great effort to minimize impacts to the neighborhood and to minimize impact to existing trees in the public rights of way.  However, some trees may be impacted during construction and no obligation exists to replace trees except as required in the City landscape code and mitigation requirements.  Also, some trees may already be at risk given their age and/or condition and no responsibility is assumed for such trees.

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Contact JEA Project Outreach for more information about the program:

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