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Fruit Cove

Jacksonville Florida's largest city

Do you consider Jacksonville the Largest city in Florida?   106 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you consider Jacksonville the Largest city in Florida?

    • Yes
      36
    • No
      69
    • Undedcided
      1

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78 posts in this topic

Im making this poll because theoretically Jacksonville is the largest with a population of 773,781 in the city limits compared to Miami's 376,815. The metros are incomparable though.

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I say yes, only because Jacksonville IS the largest city by technicality. It's consolidated with the entire county, so it has the largest amount of territory. And Jacksonville has plenty of room to grow, north and west. More ridiculous suburbs will help increase the population.

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I'd have to say yes as well . . . but just goes to prove that really its a lost cause to compare cities by their arbitrary boundaries, we need a unified way of handling metros nationally. Congrats to Jax though they have started that in their metro!

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I think its pretty obvious that JAX is not the largest city in Florida regardless of city boundaries.

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I agree with prahaboheme. I was just in Miami last week, although Jax may be larger technically, because Duval County is Jacksonville, there's really no comparison. Miami is actually about 4 or 5 times larger and feels that way too. City limit boundaries mean virtually nothing, when determining a city's actual size.

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i totally agree, i voted no on this one. i think miamis metro is 5+ million. but on paper jacksonville is considered larger.

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In real life and on paper, only urban area numbers really matter and Jacksonville comes in 4th place in the State in that category. There's a reason citizens in Jax are so excited about new things like the Cheesecake Factory and Macy's opening in the area, when these places have had multiple locations for years in Miami, Tampa, and Orlando. Its because we're flat out smaller, regardless of how large and spread out our borders are.

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Just the same, congrats to Jacksonville on their consolidation. I think a lot of other Florida cities should try it. An Orlando/Orange County consolidation and a Tampa/Hillsborough consolidation would both be immensley beneficial to their downtowns.

I was explaining the idea to my mother this weekend, and it kind of clicked in my brain as to how good it really can be for urban centers. The biggest thing is that it takes away the competition between the county and city for tax dollars. In most places, the county wins at the expense of the city and the result is sprawl and more sprawl. Obviously, Jacksonville hasn't whipped sprawl, but their growth can be planned to the betterment of everybody if done right.

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In one way I think the Metro model worked for Miami-Dade County, and it actually helped control sprawl to a certain degree. If we had been like Broward County, we'd already be at build-out and we'd likely be developed all the way to Key Largo.

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With those that say that Miami is obviously bigger, when you look up city stats they don't reflect what your looking at as "Miami". There really should be a push nationally to better coordinate city government with the metro area outlined by the census. Officially, actually, and factually Jax is larger in EVERY way, no disputing that, to look at metro Jax and Metro Miami though, a two year old could tell you theres something fishy about that then. The fishy part is what bugs me so much, o for the day I can realistically compare cities based on city stats and not have to crash them together with metrostats and % of metro that is actually THE city to see where the disparity is. Miami has earned the right to be #1 (If you do take Miami-Dade it is #1 but again thats not comparing apples to apples with jax), I truly believe every city should have a form of government similar to Indy or jax etc.

One question is Jax a "federated" city, I know Indy is, meaning that the city can gobble up the burbs without the NIMBYs complaining that they are being taken over, the burbs retain some soverginty as far as trash pickup, schools, a few other services and have a councilman that answers to kinda a glorified HOA or neighborhood group, thus the "federated" aspect of it similar to the relationship between DC and the states, Florida is the USA but still has some independence on things. I have heard that Jax and the beach communities split (that they actually broke away from Jax) or did they just start a federated metro plan? Interested in hearing about that. I know Buffalo and Pittsburgh are experimenting with that and Louisville did it in 2002.

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With those that say that Miami is obviously bigger, when you look up city stats they don't reflect what your looking at as "Miami".  There really should be a push nationally to better coordinate city government with the metro area outlined by the census.  Officially, actually, and factually Jax is larger in EVERY way, no disputing that, to look at metro Jax and Metro Miami though, a two year old could tell you theres something fishy about that then.  The fishy part is what bugs me so much, o for the day I can realistically compare cities based on city stats and not have to crash them together with metrostats and % of metro that is actually THE city to see where the disparity is.  Miami has earned the right to be #1 (If you do take Miami-Dade it is #1 but again thats not comparing apples to apples with jax), I truly believe every city should have a form of government similar to Indy or jax etc.

One question is Jax a "federated" city, I know Indy is, meaning that the city can gobble up the burbs without the NIMBYs complaining that they are being taken over, the burbs retain some soverginty as far as trash pickup, schools, a few other services and have a councilman that answers to kinda a glorified HOA or neighborhood group, thus the "federated" aspect of it similar to the relationship between DC and the states, Florida is the USA but still has some independence on things.  I have heard that Jax and the beach communities split (that they actually broke away from Jax) or did they just start a federated metro plan?  Interested in hearing about that.  I know Buffalo and Pittsburgh are experimenting with that and Louisville did it in 2002.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

If one wants to truly compare cities, apples to apples, then using urban area statistics is the only way to go.

I don't completely understand the "Federated" city thing, but the City of Jacksonville is Duval County, thus meaning the burbs and the old city core, are now only known as the city of Jacksonville, similar to consolidated cities like Indianapolis, Nashville, New Orleans, Augusta, Athens & Columbus.

However, there are four cities in Duval County that did not merge with the city of Jax in 1968. They are Neptune Beach, Atlantic Beach, Jacksonville Beach, and Baldwin. Louisville/Jefferson County's merger was based off of Jacksonville's and there were also suburban cities that remained in their merger as well.

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huh,

maybe we're talking the same thing, Louisville I know had big opposition to gobbling up the burbs until they followed what they claimed was Indy's example (prob easier to compare since Indy is just up the road) of Federated city, maybe its just a lingo, always thought of Jax as a complete merger similar to NYC in the early 1900s but then again even the boroughs have some autonomy (they are their own counties). I guess the big ? is does Jax police patrol the beaches? I would ask if Jax gets tax revenue from the beaches but if the city is the county they do already (being the county).

SF and Philly are better examples of the other option complete consolidation both cities are the counties and there is no other entity in the county except for that. Indy and Louisville from what I have heard have quasi town councils in the old burbs and some services are solely the authority of the old burbs, the city has no say thus federated.

Thanks for the insight, I agree every city needs at least to federate with its metroplex (Miami is taking steps in that direction with Miami-Dade, but unlike Jax Indy and Lville Miami city and Miami-Dade are seperate entities, Pittsburgh also has a set up like that so I know how much it ISN'T like a jax or indy, the 'burgh and Buffalo are studying ways to move there metros to that model. Here's hoping one day a poll on what data is more important won't be neccessary, that one day the city of Miami and the city of Jax represents the larger metro if not all of it!

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I guess Jax is a Federated city. The Jacksonville/Duval County consolidation was not a complete merger. Baldwin and the Beach communities are their own seperate cities. Jacksonville doesn't collect taxes from them and they provide their own police and fire services. From my understanding Jacksonville, Indianapolis & Louisville have the same type of governments.

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I live in one of the cities on the outskirts of Jacksonville at the Beaches. I am not sure of this poll because in some instances yes, but by others, not even close. If the poll was made more sprecific, it would be easier.

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Jacksonville is the largest city in Florida both in land area and population, which is how the poll is worded. Obviously, it is nowhere close to being the largest metro or urban area. Like many things, you can easily get into a apples and oranges comparision on this stuff.

Jacksonville is actually the largest city in land area in the continential US at 840 square miles.

In most matters, metro or urban-area size is the most relevant basis of comparison. However, IMO there are aspects in which city size itself is important.

One aspect, is the city's budget and tax burden. Let's say that both Jax and Miami want to build a new football stadium, or arena, or provide a costly incentive to a major industry that wants to locate in it. Jacksonville has a lot more residents to spread the cost among. All other things being equal, Jacksonville's cost per person would probably be around half of what Miami's cost per resident would be. That cost difference might mean the difference between getting mayoral/city council/ electorate approval(s) that might be required. Additionally, because of this situation, Miami would probably want/need Dade County to also provide funding toward such a project. If Miami is like a lot of areas, the County may not go along. Also, the suburdan cities might vie to get the project for themselves, rather than Miami proper. Either way, it's easy to get controversy, delays, or even cancellation of the project. I don't know much about Miami's politics, and I am only using Miami as an example. However the situation I have described has definitely happened in Atlanta, Charlotte, any major SC city you can name, and numerous other places as well.

Related to that point, but somewhat separate, is that having a large metro area with a multitude of governments makes cooperation an often difficult necessity. That covers everything from the mundane things such as water and sewer service areas, to zoning, to economic development and just about anything else. About 60-65% of the entire Jacksonville metro area is under one government. That's makes a lot of things easier.

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I guess Jax is a Federated city.  The Jacksonville/Duval County consolidation was not a complete merger.  Baldwin and the Beach communities are their own seperate cities.  Jacksonville doesn't collect taxes from them and they provide their own police and fire services.  From my understanding Jacksonville, Indianapolis & Louisville have the same type of governments.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I don't understand what a Federated city is either. I know Indy consolidated with Marion County in like 1969 or 1970. I have never seen a map of Indiana or the greater Indy area that showed the city limits extending beyond Marion County. Has that changed?

As for Jacksonville....

Residents living in Baldwin or one of the Beach cities are residents of BOTH Jacksonville and their respective city. In the 1967 consolidation election, those cities voted FOR consolidation but also voted to establish themselves as independent cities within the consolidated government.

What that means is, the residents of those cities pay taxes to the City of Jacksonville for primarily "county-typical" services. For instance the court system, the jail, landfills, general government, etc. They also pay taxes to their respective independent city for the services that it provides. This varies between them, but typically includes water, sewer, garbage pickup etc.

Major capital projects often are funded jointly between the city of Jacksonville and the respective independent city. For instance the city of Jacksonville has jointly funded parks in both Atlantic and Jacksonville Beaches. The same thing happened with the Atlantic/Neptune Beach Town Center project, with all three cities contributing.

Residents of the independent cities elect the mayor and council of their respective city. However, they ALSO vote for Jacksonville mayor and have equal representation (based on population) on the Jacksonville City Council. In fact, the last mayor of Jacksonville (John Delaney) was a resident of one of the independent cities (Neptune Beach).

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A brief history and overview of Miami-Dade County and the way it operates:

There was an attempt to consolidate the City of Miami and Dade County in the mid-20th century, but it failed. Instead a compromise was reached, because something had to be done to equalize the level of services that were being provided at the time. The cities that were within the county were unequal and inconsistent in their services, people were fleeing cities into the unincorporated areas, and Florida counties at the time were legally powerless to do anything without special acts of the legislature, except the basic county stuff (jails, courts, sheriff, elections, property taxes, etc.). Local government is a creature of the state, and they only have what powers the state legislature specifically grants them. Counties were traditionally rural and needed minimal services, so most of their business was handled by the legislature. As Dade began to urbanize, this became a problem. Basically a whole bunch of requests for special local legislation were flooding Tallahassee and the legislative docket was filled with special acts were specific to Dade County only and other large urban areas of the time... The entire statewide legislature would have to vote on issues that only affected Dade County. Another major local issue that became one of the major selling points of a need for change, was that under existing law a county fire station could not legally respond in a city or vice-versa, simply because of lack of jurisdiction. The only solution to this is to attain home rule, to relieve the legislature of the burden of managing Dade County and devolve it to local authorities. Let the state handle statewide issues.

So in 1957, the voters of Florida amended the Constitution to allow the people of Dade County to create their own Home Rule Charter, one that would define the type of government and delegate complete local control to the County Commission. A charter is like a constitution for a city or a county. It was thought that a government that could facilitate cooperation among cities as well as balance the individual interests of cities with the needs of everyone as a whole would serve everyone's best interests. Dade County became Florida's first chartered county, meaning that its existence, power and authority are derived from the Charter rather than state statute. The new legal name would become Metropolitan Dade County, but most people knew it as Metro-Dade. The future 1968 Florida Constitution in force today would provide a much easier way for a county to seek home rule (Duval and Dade were Florida's guinea pigs) besides the arduous process of statewide constitutional amendment.

Legally speaking, Miami-Dade County is a metro government. It was created in 1957 and it was modeled after Toronto's metro government (Toronto has since decided to consolidate). Specifically it's called a two-tier system, because it provides services within two levels of scope: regional and municipal. It did not consolidate with any city, but it did take over operation of the airports, libraries, and hospitals that the City of Miami was previously handling. It also assumed many city powers and many of the services that cities would provide in another states are actually performed by the county here. In Florida's Constitution, the County holds a special status among all counties and holds unique powers, including:

  • the power to unilaterally change its own name (the only Florida county with this power). In 1997, a referendum passed that changed Metropolitan Dade County's name to Miami-Dade County.

  • the County holds all legal powers of cities, and this power is provided by the Constitution.

  • the County sets the rules, governs, and provides the methods by which cities within the county can annex territory, dissolve themselves, or by which new cities can incorporate. In other counties, cities are created by special acts of the Legislature.

  • the State Legislature cannot alter the structure of the government of Miami-Dade County or its departments, nor can it annex, incorporate, or dissolve any city that lies within the county. The County Commission is the only body empowered to address these issues.

  • While the Legislature can pass general laws that affect the entire state, it specifically cannot enact special legislation that pertains only to Dade County. The State can still pass special laws for any other city or county and it can still pass general laws that affect the entire state and Dade County.

  • All Florida counties except Dade elect a sheriff, property appraiser, tax collector, and supervisor of elections. In Dade County, all of these individual offices are instead county departments and the directors that run these departments are professionally appointed and report through the County Manager. In Florida, sheriff's offices provide law enforcement to all unincorporated areas as well as protection to the courts. While Dade County doesn't have an elected Sheriff or a sheriff's office, its equivalent agency is the Miami-Dade Police Department, led by an appointed director (sometimes, for legal reasons, called the "Metropolitan Sheriff").

The County has two tiers of government, upper and lower. In its role as the upper tier, it provides regional services to the county as a whole (airports, seaports, transit, public hospitals, public housing, traffic signalization, environmental protection, courts, etc.). A countywide operating tax is assessed for these services. Cities provide the lower tier of services, such as police, zoning, fire, etc., with city taxes. For residents who do not live within a city, they are part of the Unincorporated Municipal Services Area (UMSA), and the County serves as their lower-tier municipal government (i.e., their "city" government). Unincorporated residents pay a separate UMSA tax in place of a city tax, which funds their services. More than half of Dade County's 2.3 million live within UMSA. Everyone pays both "county operating" and "city/municipal" tax.

The largest local government in the southeast, Miami-Dade County has an elected Mayor, as well as a 13-member Board of County Commissioners. A County Manager oversees the day-to-day operations of the county departments as well as the annual operating budget of $6 billion. Undoubtedly the County Mayor wields much more power than the City of Miami's Mayor.

With exception of 5 cities (Miami, Miami Beach, Hialeah, Coral Gables, and Key Biscayne), county residents living in the unincorporated area or in the remaining 30 municipalities are served by Miami-Dade Fire Rescue (largest fire department in the southeastern U.S.). City fire engines and ambulances are red, while Miami-Dade's vehicles are lime green. The dispatching system is centralized. It also doesn't matter what city you live in or if you live in an unincorporated area -- the closest fire station always responds first, no matter what.

Miami-Dade has a centralized water and sewer system, which serves unincorporated residents and most cities (including City of Miami). Some cities maintain their their own water and sewer network but usually purchase their water wholesale from the County. The County provides garbage collection for all the unincorporated areas and most cities, and some cities collect their own garbage (which is ultimately processed by county landfills and recycling centers).

There is a doctrine of county supremacy; if a County ordinance is in conflict with a City ordinance, the County's ordinance prevails. In the rest of Florida, a city ordinance prevails within the city limits if it is in conflict with a county ordinance.

To briefly address the power of incorporation: when a city incorporates, UMSA revenues go down because the new city starts collecting the revenue, to the detriment of the remaining unincorporated area, potentially affecting services. The County has addressed this issue in the last three recent incorporations by requiring those cities to pay an annual "mitigation fee" to the County to offset that lost revenue, as a condition for allowing them to incorporate. That prevents the County from having to increase its millage rate on unincorporated residents. The County also requires that new cities continue to use Miami-Dade's Fire-Rescue, Library, Water and Sewer, and Solid Waste Collection. They must also contract with Miami-Dade Police for the first 3 years of their incorporation.

Statistics are easy to skew when looking at "Miami" (in quotes) because the County doesn't fall neatly into the American definition of a city. Census MSAs are a worthy effort at a solution to this problem. In other countries, metropolitan governments are quite common and therefore statistically comparable. Two examples I cite most often are Tokyo and London. What we know of as Tokyo is not actually the "City of Tokyo" but actually Tokyo Metropolitan Area (a special prefecture), with 23 wards, each having their own mayors, councils, and budgets. Greater London is actually a conurbation of boroughs with their own governments, and there is a small self-governing City of London in the center that comprises the financial district. The Houses of Parliament, for example, are technically in the City of Westminster, which is a borough of Greater London. All of these boroughs are overseen by the Greater London Authority.

Miami-Dade's urbanized area is confined within an Urban Development Boundary, effectively a "city limit". The rest of the county is either agricultural, protected wetlands, Everglades water conservation area, or within Everglades National Park. The area within the UDB is approximately 500 out of the county's 2000 total square miles, which is still technically smaller than Jacksonville's 800+, but the population is triple and the density is almost five times as much.

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love this discussion, these are things that I have always wondered about from a consolidation point of view, great posts!

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Thanks for the post Tivo, I have never understood the whole Miami-Dade issue. Thanks for clearing it up.

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^ thanks tivo...I always try to explain to people from outside of Miami how our metropolitan government and the home rule charter works and I get these perplexed looks!

To sum it up briefly Metro-Dade County basically functions as a city government while the other 35+ municipalities in the county are subordinate to it. It works fine and we didn't have to consolidate in order to provide services to all of our residents. Just look at the mess the Fire departments in Broward county are in when it comes to responding to emergencies across city boundaries.

I'm curious to know if there are any other metropolitan areas in the US that have the same style of government we have here.

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Orlando and Orange County hates each other. They constantly fight over tourists taxes and land.

Orange County has become so "arrogant" because they have a lot of attractions in their not corporated land, so they collect all the money, which I think should belong to City of Orlando. Then, the county kept building sprawling stuff around city of Orlando like the research park and some crappy development to compete with downtown. Plus, they do not support the mayor effort in developing downtown, getting NFL team.

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I think we should take zoning responsiblities away from the county. That would be the quckest way to get some consolidation and stop sprawl.

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I'm curious to know if there are any other metropolitan areas in the US that have the same style of government we have here.

Metro-Dade is unique -- only one of its kind in the US. It has its flaws, the bureaucracy is huge, but I think it's a good framework. There are some really good proposals on the way that will help streamline the way services are provided.

About the next-nearest type of entity in the US is the Portland area's regional government it calls "Metro", which covers the three major counties of the Portland area. It handles issues like transportation, environmental protection, recycling, and growth management.

It works fine and we didn't have to consolidate in order to provide services to all of our residents. Just look at the mess the Fire departments in Broward county are in when it comes to responding to emergencies across city boundaries.

I'm glad you brought up the fire issue, because this one just ticks me off. Broward's system is totally fragmented: 99% incorporated, 30+ cities, almost each one with its own fire department (and some contract to the County), which will only respond inside the city limits, and pockets of unincorporated areas that are miles from the nearest county fire station. Sometimes county fire trucks have have to drive from miles away through two or three different cities to get to their service areas, when a local city fire station might be a few blocks away. In Dade this would not have happened, nor in Jacksonville.

A novel idea just happened recently. The Broward County Commision recently transferred its fire-rescue department to the Broward Sheriff's Office. BSO has had good negotiating experience in getting cities to contract with them for police services (thereby not having to lay off their force), so in assuming fire-rescue operations they can increase their service area and come up with interlocal agreements for mutual assistance. Come to think of it, I can't think of another sheriff's office that does both policing and fire-rescue.

Orlando and Orange County hates each other. They constantly fight over tourists taxes and land.

Orange County has become so "arrogant" because they have a lot of attractions in their not corporated land, so they collect all the money, which I think should belong to City of Orlando. Then, the county kept building sprawling stuff around city of Orlando like the research park and some crappy development to compete with downtown. Plus, they do not support the mayor effort in developing downtown, getting NFL team.

Wow, things have changed a lot. I don't remember the rivalry being that intense in the days of Linda Chapin (Orange County Chairman) and Glenda Hood (Orlando Mayor).

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