Public service is a family tradition for Jim Overton. His grandfather served in the Florida Legislature, and several cousins have served on county commissions or in the legislature in Florida. Overton was elected to the Jacksonville City Council in November 1992 to fill an unexpired term of Tillie Fowler, who urged him to run for Council when she left to serve in Congress. He was reelected in 1995 and 1999.
Following his term on the Jacksonville City Council, Jim Overton was elected Duval County Property Appraiser.
City Council Experience
Overton served on these committees: Land Use & Zoning; Public Services, Technology & Utilities; Public Health, Safety & Education; and Cecil Field Redevelopment.
Overton was elected Council President for 1997-1998 following a year as President Pro-Tempore. As President, Overton oversaw the move from the old City Hall, now the City Hall Annex, to City Hall at St. James. Overton was among those downtown preservationists on Council who had pushed for the purchase and reuse of the St. James Building, an architectural gem which was formerly a department store, as Jacksonville's new City Hall.
Overton has been active in historic preservation throughout his tenure. During his year as Council President, he pushed through controversial legislation to designate Riverside-Avondale as an historic district, a move now seen as spectacularly successful. During the 2001-2002 year, he chaired a task force on Downtown Historic Preservation which, when fully implemented will restore historic downtown buildings to new uses and will help Jacksonville's growth management problems by redeveloping the central business district. He also initiated and co-sponsored the Traditional Neighborhood Design (TND) zoning ordinance, which permits 'new urbanist' land development in Duval County.
Overton has served as chair of the Finance Committee, the Rules Committee and the Public Utilities Committee and has been a member of all seven standing committees. Overton also served on a number of important select committees, including Enterprise Zones, Legal Affairs, Stormwater Management and Personnel Policy & Procedures. He also was an active ex-officio member of the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission and the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce.
Quality of Life
Overton is an ardent supporter of quality of life issues in Jacksonville. He's made major improvements to the City parks in his district, including Westside Regional Park, Criswell, Boone, Murray Hill and Fishweir parks. Countywide, as chairman of the Jacksonville Lands Trust, he helped acquire Dutton Island in Atlantic Beach, Cedar Point and Half-Moon Island in the Timuquan Preserve, Southwest Regional Park, Blue Cypress Park in Arlington and Ortega Stream Valley Park.
Water quality, storm drainage and sewage management are important to our quality of life. Overton has advocated for improved water quality, infrastructure improvements in storm drainage and septic tank replacement. He served as chairman of the St. Johns River Water Quality Commission. He served as co-chair of the River Summit, along with Mayor John Delaney and House Speaker John Thrasher. The summit produced $200 million in water quality improvements for the St. Johns River. He was instrumental in the development and passage of the current $66 million storm water improvement plan currently under construction and a new $60 million program now under design.
Overton also is dedicated to Downtown redevelopment and revitalization. He was a key supporter for purchasing and reusing the Marble Bank corner of downtown, the reuse of Snyder Church and the construction of a new Main Library. He was a strong supporter of Mayor Ed Austin's Renaissance Program that rejuvenated Downtown by rebuilding the Performing Arts Center, the Florida Theatre, the Ritz Theatre and the Gator Bowl (now Alltel Stadium). He was also a strong supporter of Mayor John Delaney's Better Jacksonville Plan, which resulted in $2.3 billion in new capital projects for Jacksonville.
As past chairman and board member of the Duval County Tourist Development Council, Overton is an advocate of Jacksonville Tourism. His particular interests are the promotion of eco-tourism and countywide golf venues. He has been a strong supporter of the Ribault Clubhouse project on Fort George Island and the Florida State Parks and National Park Service natural resources in Duval County, such as Little Talbot Island, the Timuquan Preserve, Fort Caroline and the Kingsley Plantation. He also promoted the Florida's First Coast of Golf initiative. He was a key supporter and swing vote to bring the Jacksonville Jaguars to town.
Overton and his wife Connie are both strong supporters of the arts in Jacksonville. He was a co-sponsor of the Arts in Public Places ordinance, has served on JCCI Forward's Planning Committee on Arts and Cultural Institutions, and has been active in Art Stop, a grassroots organization promoting Jacksonville as a cultural center. His wife Connie is a longtime member and former chairwoman of the Jacksonville Cultural Council, which administers grants to Jacksonville's cultural organizations.
Community involvement outside City Council is important to Overton, and he is active in many civic organizations, including:
Board member of the Mayor's Preservation Project
Board member of the Housing Partnership of Jacksonville
Member of the YMCA Central Board
Member and former member of the Rotary Club of West Jacksonville, where he has 17 years of perfect attendance
His past civic service includes:
Chair of the Jacksonville Lands Trust (predecessor to the Preservation Project)
Board member of the Daniel Memorial Institute
Member of the Cecil Field Redevelopment Commission
Trustee of Riverside Presbyterian Day School
Board member of Volunteer Jacksonville
Vice President of the board of Theatre Jacksonville
Stakeholder in the Jacksonville Insight process
Team member on JCCI's study on the 'Future Financial Health of the City of Jacksonville'
Board member of the University of North Florida's Institute of Government
Steering committee member for JaxPride, a coalition for the visual enhancement of Jacksonville
Honors and Awards
Conservation in Florida Award from The Nature Conservancy
Award of Appreciation from the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce
Preservation Award from the Jacksonville Historical Society
Canopy Award from Greenscape of Jacksonville
Outstanding Graduate from the University of North Florida
Overton attended local public schools, graduated from Lee High School and holds a Bachelor of Science degree, cum laude, from Washington and Lee University, and a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of North Florida, where he was named the 'Outstanding Student' in his class for his capstone paper on Light Rail Mass Transit.
Away from City Hall, Overton is a small businessman who works in the television and digital media production business. For many years he co-owned and managed a regional television and radio electronics equipment distribution company.
Overton is a fifth-generation Floridian and a native of Jacksonville's westside. He has been married to his wife, Connie, for 25 years and they have two children. Connie is a native of Cleveland, Ohio, and a graduate of Hollins College with a degree in psychology. In his free time, Overton enjoys golf, boating, camping, reading history, and playing the piano and guitar. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. Overton is an elder in the Riverside Presbyterian Church.