Jacksonville, FL (January 10, 2017) The River City Marketplace on the Max Leggett Parkway near Jacksonville International Airport is one of the most prosperous retail areas in the city. As District 11 Council Member Danny Becton sees it, new development in this economically strong area of town doesn’t need any further taxpayer assistance.
At the January 10, 2017 City Council Meeting, Becton rose to oppose the bill that passed 16-2 with Becton and Council Member Al Ferraro (District 2) in opposition. The bill calls for the city to join in an economic development agreement with Uptown Signature Development. Inc. for a $200,000 Tax Increment District Infrastructure Grant and a $1.75 million Recapture Enhanced Value (REV) grant. The $200,000 would be used to help construct up to $4 million in infrastructure including roads, drainage, electricity, gas, and lighting. The $1.75 million represents 50 percent of the incremental increase in taxable value of the property for 10 years after the property begins paying taxes.
This bill failed to garner approval in the JIA CRA Advisory Board when it received a 2-2 vote.
CM Becton sees the bill as corporate welfare whereby tax money could be better used in a less prosperous areas of the city to advance jobs and neighborhoods. Becton was direct when he asked his colleagues, “Would this project or the area in this project be developed if this funding was not made available?” He contended that the project would be developed without city funds. He rhetorically asked if the council would consider such a package for a new development wanting to build in the St. Johns Town Center area.
Two major projects are taking place in District 11 without taxpayer assistance. He believes this project is similar to those and does not need taxpayer support.