JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A new audit shows tax dollars were used to lure businesses to Jacksonville, but some did not bring the jobs that they promised.
The audit found problems with accuracy in business reporting, which could mean thousands of dollars in improperly awarded incentives.
The audit report covers from 2007 to 2011 under the now-defunct Jacksonville Economic Development Commission.
The city council auditor completed the audit of incentives awarded to 11 companies. The objective was to check whether job creation data reported by companies that receive city incentives was accurate.
The findings noted “significant” compliance issues totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars in incentives.
The audit identified "numerous problems and resulted in the subsequent recovery of hundreds of thousands of dollars by the city."
City councilman Stephen Joost said it's now up to the city to reclaim those taxpayer dollars.
The audit reviewed the incentives and, according to the investigation, four of 11 companies, or 36-percent were deemed non-compliant.
Joost could not tell Action News which locally-operated companies failed to meet city standards for incentives.
"They'll realize, hey, we promised 40 jobs, we only gave 36," said Joost. "I'll refund the difference or they'll go out and produce the four or five jobs. Each deal is a little different."
Mayor Brown appointed a task force in early 2012, headed by Bill Scheu, to review and issue recommendations regarding the issues. In 2012, Brown accepted those recommendations, including the creation of an auditing and compliance office to review activity.
David DeCamp, a spokesman for Mayor Brown, issued this statement regarding the report: "The administration has worked hard to implement recommendations from the Incentive Monitoring and Compliance Task Force. Mayor Brown is committed to accountability in the use of city resources to help create jobs and encourage economic investment.”
Go to the Final Report
for more information about the findings.