JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville City Council gives the green light to award a nearly $700,000 incentives package to waste management company Advanced Disposal. It passed by a vote of 16-2 Tuesday evening.
But not everyone is happy about it. The company has been trying to clear a cloud of controversy over whether they are scamming the city out of more than a million dollars in host fees.
"Left pocket, right pocket, it's all coming out of my pockets," said John Winkler with the Concerned Taxpayers of Duval County.
Winkler is outraged the city would even consider the package.
"If in fact, as we believe, Advanced Disposal owes some people say more than a million, we say probably four-and-a-half-million dollars to the city, there's absolutely no reason we should be rewarding bad corporate behavior."
It's a concern councilman John Crescimbeni was tipped off about last week and launched an investigation of his own. Internal emails obtained by Action News show the city's been aware for months of the possibility that the company hasn't been paying host fees.
Tuesday, all parties were called to the table during a special finance committee meeting. In attendance, John Arwood, Owner of Advanced Disposal's competitor, Arwood Waste.
"They're already established here why do we need to save them to stay here when I believe that's set up to bring businesses in."
He says a high dollar incentives package would help his business stay afloat in tough economic times and doesn't think Advanced Disposal's track record of attempts to scam the city justifies a reward.
"Right now the city's laying off firemen policemen there's not enough money and then they're going to use precious taxpayer dollars to try to keep a company here that's repeatedly robbed from the city."
Finance Committee members decided these are two separate issues and they should move forward with the possibility of bringing in 85 new jobs in the HQ expansion.
"We look forward to exonerating our name," Advanced Disposal Chief Marketing Officer Mary O'Brien told Action News.
When asked if they'd pay back any fees if deemed owed ,she said, "We always pay our bills."
Councilman John Crescimbeni says the investigation into the host fees will continue.