Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Clay Ready to Offer Tax Incentives Plan Might Lure New Businesses

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Clay Ready to Offer Tax Incentives Plan Might Lure New Businesses

Article excerpt

GREEN COVE SPRINGS -- Clay County has joined a growing number of counties and cities in Florida in the race to attract new industry by offering tax breaks.

County commissioners agreed Tuesday to move forward with an economic development incentive policy to offer tax rebates to businesses that move to Clay County and create new jobs.

Commissioners also endorsed a proposal to pay $140,000 in tax rebates to a company promising to construct an 80,000-square-foot office building near Orange Park and create 175 jobs in the first two years with salaries above the statewide average.

"This is the type of job we would like to see in the county," said Commissioner Dale Wilson.

The company, identified as HSS Systems of Nashville, wants to build a revenue service center on vacant property on Wells Road, said Orien Pass, executive director of the Clay County Development Authority.

Eventually, Pass said, the company plans to employ up to 300 people in jobs that would pay 150 percent of the statewide average salary, which he said is about $27,600 presently.

HSS Systems, a limited liability company, is believed to be linked to Nashville-based HCA -- The Healthcare Co., formerly Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp., owner of Orange Park Medical Center and other hospitals in the Jacksonville area.

An HCA spokesman confirmed Monday that the firm was considering sites in Northeast Florida for an 80,000-square-foot center that would manage accounts receivable in a territory that would include much of North Florida.

Commissioners adopted a resolution recommending the state's Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development certify HSS under Florida's Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund Program.

Under the QTI program, qualified businesses can receive up to $4,000 for each new job they create: 80 percent coming from the state and 20 percent from local governments, such as Clay County's proposed $140,000 share.

Pass told commissioners another company, which he would not identify, also is interested in building four 75,000-square-foot office buildings on Fleming Island for up to 1,100 employees if tax incentives are available. …

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