Jacksonville’s City Council’s Auditor’s Office recently issued a “return on investment” analysis of Mayor Lenny Curry’s proposed $233.3 million local taxpayer investment in LOT J. The brief 22 page report, “Overview of Lot J Development,” (http://apps2.coj.net/City_Council_Public_Notices_Repository/20201105%20Lot%20J%20Committee%20of%20the%20Whole%20-%20Council%20Auditor’s%20presentation.pdf), finds that Jacksonville taxpayers will realize 44 cents for every dollar they invest in the Lot J development. The Curry Administration has argued that taxpayers will realize $1.69 for every dollar they invest.
The auditor’s estimate is a whopping 73.9% less than the Mayor’s estimate.
Given the discrepancy, City Council’s hasty schedule to make a final decision on what the Auditor calls “one of the largest, if not the largest, investments in a public/private development” is curious. Especially when one considers the Auditor’s claim that “The City has not conducted an independent market feasibility study specifically related to the Jacksonville downtown market to determine whether the project is sustainable and whether the market can support this project” (Overview, p. 13).
No market study showing that the “market can support this project.” No analysis showing that the proposed development is “sustainable.”
Nonetheless, Council will discuss Bill 2020-0648 over the next three weeks, with a final vote anticipated to occur during the regular December 8th meeting. Council is reviewing the legislation as a committee of the whole, meaning that all members will participate in the review.2020-648-Original-Bill-
November 19, 5-8 p.m. Committee of the Whole discussion
November 24, beginning at 5 pm: Public Hearing
December 3, 10 am – 1 pm: Committee of the Whole vote
December 8, beginning at 5 pm: City Council vote
The public may participate by zoom: