Council Committees Approve Downtown, Jobs Funding Plan

March 05, 2013  

Mayor’s legislation to reinvest $11 million now under full Council review

Two City Council committees have unanimously approved Mayor Alvin Brown’s plan to inject $11 million into Downtown revitalization and job-creating economic improvements throughout Jacksonville. With the approval from the Finance and Recreation and Community Development committees, the legislation (2013-89) now goes to full Council for review.

Earlier this year, Mayor Brown committed to investing $9 million in order to leverage private investment that will improve Downtown. An additional $2 million is slated for economic expansion throughout the city. The investments result from a successful round of debt refinancing at the direction of the Brown Administration. The savings will be reinvested in projects with private-sector investment that invigorate Downtown and elevate the Jacksonville economy.

“I commend the committee members for asking insightful questions and making a thorough review of this important plan for Jacksonville’s future,” said Mayor Alvin Brown. “The reinvestment strategy will add greatly to the momentum of jobs and opportunity, while increasing value in our urban core for the entire city to enjoy.”

The savings provide an opportunity for Jacksonville to invest in its future without taking on additional debt, using reserves or impacting the city’s solid AA+ bond rating. The refinancing provides $11 million for the 2012-13 fiscal year with additional savings in future years. The $11 million would be managed with Council oversight by the new Downtown Investment Authority and Office of Economic Development, agencies created during the mayor’s restructuring of the city’s economic development arm.

Mayor Brown has made reinvigorating Downtown a strategic priority. His initiatives to restructure the city’s economic development activities and create the Downtown Investment Authority won strong approval from Council, the Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott. A recent survey of residents by the JAX2025 initiative to create a community vision for Jacksonville’s future found that their top issue is improving Downtown Jacksonville.

With committee approval, the reinvestment legislation is now eligible to be part of the full Council agenda. City Council’s next meeting is Tuesday, March 12, 2013.