Biography of Mayor John A. Delaney
In the spring of 1999, John Delaney was reelected, without opposition, to his second term as Mayor of Jacksonville. He was first elected in 1995.
Since taking office, Mayor Delaney's focus has been on improving governmental management. He has lowered the property tax rate seven consecutive years to its lowest level since the 1970s, saving taxpayers nearly $90 million. Despite tremendous population growth, Delaney has reduced the civilian workforce, continuing a now eleven-year trend, while improving and expanding city services. He has also added the equivalent of more than three hundred police officers to Jacksonville's streets. Efficiencies have meant more funding for social services, children's programs, land preservation and the arts, and in May 2001, the City of Jacksonville received the Florida Sterling Award recognizing organization excellence.
Conservation has been at the top of Delaney's agenda. He has led two summits focused on protecting, restoring and enhancing the St. Johns River and was instrumental in having the St. Johns named an American Heritage River in July 1998 by the President of the United States. In January 1999, Delaney kicked off a major growth management and land conservation program called The Preservation Project. Through the Project, more than 40,000 acres of land has been set aside for conservation and passive recreation. The Preservation Project also includes plans to upgrade more than 100 local parks and preserve and enhance public access to the St. Johns River and other natural assets.
Committed to improving Jacksonville's more than 200 neighborhoods, Mayor Delaney created the city's first Neighborhoods Department to provide residents with easy access to city services. Through his Intensive Care Neighborhoods Program, he has brought together residents, the business community, churches, community groups and city government to address poverty, high crime rates, education and infrastructure in five Jacksonville neighborhoods. In 1996, Delaney began a city-wide beautification effort and also charged residents with planting one million new trees in Jacksonville in five years. In 2001, Jacksonville citizens exceeded that goal.
As part of his ongoing growth management efforts, Delaney developed The Better Jacksonville Plan, which was approved by Jacksonville voters in September 2000. Funded in part by a limited half-cent sales tax, the plan focuses of four strategies aimed at better managing Jacksonville's rapid development: improving roads and infrastructure, land conservation and environmental preservation, targeted economic development and downtown revitalization. The plan includes road improvements aimed at easing congestion, neighborhood street and infrastructure improvements, preservation of land, park improvements, funding for economic development, improved and new neighborhood libraries, a new main library, courthouse, baseball park, sports and entertainment arena, as well as other projects aimed at ensuring a stronger city for the future.
Prior to his service as Mayor, Delaney was the General Counsel for the City of Jacksonville and Chief of Staff to former Jacksonville Mayor Ed Austin. He served a decade as a prosecutor in the State Attorney's Office of Florida's Fourth Judicial Circuit and six of those years as the Chief Assistant. Mayor Delaney is a graduate of Terry Parker High School and the University of Florida's undergraduate and law schools. He and his wife, Gena, have four children.