JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Action News has learned which companies received your tax dollars as incentives for jobs they never brought to Jacksonville.
A new report, obtained by Action News, shows numerous companies received financial incentives to create jobs in Jacksonville but we also uncovered that they didn't always bring the jobs promised.
“We want to make sure the taxpayers receive the value that was negotiated,” said city council auditor, Kirk Sherman.
Sherman spent months reviewing incentives packages used to lure big business to the River City. According to the report, the city misspent more than $100,000 to four companies between 2007 and 2011.
Action News reporter Ryan Smith obtained the list of companies from the auditor's office. Those companies now owe the city of Jacksonville $89,313 of your taxpayer dollars.
W.W. Grainger, Inc. owes the city $34,835 and Casto Southeast, Inc. (BJ’s Wholesale Club, Inc. occupies the building and created the jobs) owes $54,478. Trend Offset Printing Services, Inc. paid back the $20,406 it owed to the city.
Sherman says the city can only recover the funds if there's a clawback agreement in the contract -- paying back funds improperly awarded.
That is not the case for Dupuy Silo Facilities. The company owes the city $82,362 and it looks like the city of Jacksonville should not hold its breath thanks to a poorly written contract, according to Sherman.
The contract with Dupuy Silo Facilities was drawn up by the general counsel of Mayor John Peyton’s administration, according to Sherman.
“Not having enough provisions in contracts, not having things well-enough spelled out,” said Sherman.
“We were not doing a good job of monitoring,” said Jacksonville city councilman, Bill Gulliford.
When Action News asked the city what it's doing to ensure these mistakes don't happen again, a spokesman stated, "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.”
The city approved seven incentive projects last year totaling $4.2 million. That money will be distributed over a span of five to 10 years.
Gulliford says the city now has safeguards in place to make sure every company benefiting from taxpayer dollars keeps up its end of the bargain. “We're going to watch a lot closer now and we're going to make sure all of them have merit with the incentives that are given."
The incentive overages were given out between 2007 and 2011, before Mayor Alvin Brown was in office.