JEDC Gives the OK to $983,600 in Incentives; Merrill Lynch and CIT Group Will Have Proposals Go before the City Council

By Light, Joe | The Florida Times Union, December 9, 2005 | Go to article overview

JEDC Gives the OK to $983,600 in Incentives; Merrill Lynch and CIT Group Will Have Proposals Go before the City Council


Light, Joe, The Florida Times Union


Byline: JOE LIGHT

The Jacksonville Economic Development Commission recommended that the City Council approve about $800,000 in city incentives for Merrill Lynch at its meeting on Thursday, bringing the financial services company one step closer to committing to an 800-job expansion in the city.

The JEDC also approved $183,600 in city incentives for a 306-job expansion by CIT Group Inc., a commercial and consumer finance company. At the meeting, company officials said that they are also considering Danville, Va., and Oklahoma City as expansion locations. If the City Council approves the incentives and CIT decides to locate the employees in Jacksonville, CIT officials said that the company would likely invest about $2.8 million for building improvements.

James Marino, a CIT senior vice president, said that all three cities were in contention for the jobs and that without the incentive, Jacksonville would be at a disadvantage.

Both projects will go before the City Council for final approval of the city funds, and then state officials will review the companies' applications for approval of the state funds.

Also at the meeting JEDC Deputy Executive Director Jeanne Miller detailed proposed revisions to the JEDC's public investment policy. The Public Investment Policy sets standards for dozens of city, state, and federal grant tools used by the JEDC for economic development.

The revisions approved by the JEDC changed the minimum requirements for several programs and tightened policy language to help ensure that the programs are not abused. Commissioners also added the Job Opportunity Bank, a trust fund that will provide financial assistance for job training for workers in Jacksonville.

JEDC Executive Director Ron Barton said that the revised policy was the culmination of two years of intense work by staff to focus its efforts on projects that would provide the city with an acceptable return on investment.

"This really is a significant document. It's a recognition that our market has changed," he said. …

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