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City steps up to help families living without water

JEA has gone ahead with a plan to provide water to community whose wells have run dry.
JEA has gone ahead with a plan to provide water to community whose wells have run dry.
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Updated: 11/08/2013 12:38 am
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Hard to believe an urban neighborhood in the middle of the Southside is living without a basic necessity. At least now the city admits the families living there can't wait any longer for water.

"We can't have large communities or small communities that are part of our greater city that suffer in those conditions and we just ignore it," said Jacksonville City Councilwoman Lori Boyer.

Boyer just filed emergency legislation to find $35,000 in the city budget to pay for a new water line on Clairmont Road, part of the Larsen neighborhood most in need. Boyer told Action News that money could come from grants, but may have to come from taxpayer dollars, which she said isn't ideal.

"I do think there comes a time when you have an emergency situation, and by virtue of our regulations, we've prevented people to be able to solve it for themselves," she said.

Gary McCormick is one of those people and said he'd pay for it if he could, but he's barely making ends meet.

"We're not asking for the world here; we just want a little water," he said.

We took the issue straight to the taxpayers and asked if they would be upset if the city used their dollars to pay for a new water line.

"No, because that's a necessity and everybody should have water," said Vanessa Pizarro.

We spoke to at least 10 other people, and they all agreed with Pizarro. While some others would disagree, these families are still holding out hope that funding comes through.

Action News has also learned that the Department of Health was out in the Larsen neighborhood testing its wells and found at least a dozen that had contaminated water. The city said that's another project they're now looking into.

We reached out to JEA for comment and they released this statement:

JEA understands that this is a difficult and challenging situation, and is committed to continue to work collaboratively to find the best solutions moving forward while working to keep rates stable for customers, as well as equitable.
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