Work can now begin on how to invest $11 million the city saved through refinancing bonds, with the action signed in to law Wednesday.
“It’s about managing our scarce resources in the most effective and efficient way,” says Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown.
$9 million will go specifically to downtown redevelopment and the remaining $2 million will be used for countywide development. The money is expected to bring jobs to the area through a number of ways, namely incentives and capital improvement.
Downtown Investment Authority Vice Chair Oliver Barakat tells me the board will now start to figure out the divide, just how much should be spent on each aspect. He expects a “robust” debate, but says in the end, either option will lead to jobs.
“There is construction jobs that will be associated with those incentives and obviously, those could begin occurring within 6-12 months,” he says.
He expects sustained jobs to start to happen in 2014-2015.
The reinvestment has come under significant scrutiny because the Council Auditor preferred keeping the $11 million in reserve. City Council Finance Chair John Crescimbeni has told WOKV the city can still, ultimately, use the money for an emergency if one comes up and it gets enough votes from the council.