November 25, 2020
In The Public Interest
construction timeline chrt
Lot J Project Timelines

Lot J Development: Auditor casts doubt on wisdom of Tax Payer Support

City council auditor questions Lot J return on investment

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.

Return on Investment Estimates

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-

Critical dates:

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:

https://www.coj.net/city-council/city-council-meetings-online

Written by
Sherry Magill

Sherry Magill is a community leader and retired private foundation executive. She is a co-founder of Jaxlookout.

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Written by Sherry Magill

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