OFFICE OF THE CITY COUNCIL
117 WEST DUVAL STREET, SUITE 425
4TH FLOOR, CITY HALL
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA 32202
Finance Committee Special Meeting Minutes
April 5, 2017
Immediately following 9:00 a.m. regular committee meeting
Topic: Transparency of economic development incentives; Enterprise Florida’s future
Location: City Council Chamber, 1st floor, City Hall – St. James Building, 117 West Duval Street
In attendance: Council Members Anna Lopez Brosche (Chair), Greg Anderson, Aaron Bowman, Katrina Brown, Bill Gulliford, Sam Newby
Excused: Council Member Matt Schellenberg
Also: Kirk Sherman and Kyle Billy – Council Auditor’s Office; Peggy Sidman – Office of General Counsel; Jeff Clements – Council Research Division; Jessica Matthews – Legislative Services Division; Ali Korman Shelton – Mayor’s Office; Kirk Wendland - Economic Development Officer
Meeting Convened: 10:44 a.m.
Chairwoman Brosche called the meeting to order and introduced the topic of transparency of economic development incentives as reported in a recent document (Show Us the Local Subsidies) released by GoodJobsFirst.org, a national policy resource center for grassroots groups and public officials, promoting corporate and government accountability in economic development and smart growth. Economic Development Officer Kirk Wendland reported that his office had been contacted one time last year by a representative of the organization in the form of a public records request asking for all records on all economic incentive deals. His office requested clarification of what particular documents the organization was seeking and noted that considerable information is available on the OED’s web site. Apparently the researcher preparing the report accessed the OED web site and assigned the City’s transparency rating based on what was there. Mr. Wendland felt this did not produce a true “apples to apples” comparison among the 51 cities listed, and noted that Jacksonville ranked high on transparency for its Recapture Enhanced Value (REV) grant incentives which are listed on the OED web site, but ranked low on transparency for the City’s tax increment district incentives, which may have been because a number of the Community Redevelopment Areas are not managed by the OED. The researcher may therefore not have found relevant information that is readily available on the City web site, but not on OED’s web page because they do not manage all of the CRAs. The researcher never contacted his office again requesting additional information or clarification of sources.
Ali Korman Shelton of the Mayor’s Office reported that the Florida House has passed HB7005 that would eliminate all funding for Enterprise Florida, the state’s economic development agency. SB1112 in the Florida Senate does not propose to eliminate Enterprise Florida, so the two chambers will need to resolve their differences on this issue in a conference committee. The Senate’s budget contains $80 million in funding for Enterprise Florida, the House budget contains none. Ms. Shelton also reported that the latest amendments to the bill proposing substantial changes to community redevelopment areas (HB13 and SB1770) are much more acceptable to local governments. The bills as originally filed would have sunset all CRAs and prohibited the creation of any new districts. The latest House and Senate amendments allow CRAs to continue with stricter standards.
Meeting Adjourned: 10:59 a.m.
Minutes: Jeff Clements, Council Research
4.7.17 Posted 12:00 p.m.
Tapes: Finance Special Meeting– LSD