JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Downtown development, we've been hearing about it a lot lately. The City Council needs to sign off on $9 million the Mayor wants to dedicate to it. But before it gives up that much money to the Downtown Investment Authority, or the DIA, it needs to know more.
Tuesday, the City Council finance committee put the brakes on just handing over that much taxpayer money, no questions asked. It wants more information from the DIA. It wants a plan on how that money will be spent.
Committee Chairman John Crescimbeni said, "It may not have specifics, like we want to take this building and paint it purple. Or we want to do something else with this parking lot. But it will have goals and objectives in general terms."
The DIA says offering incentives for private businesses to get them to move Downtown will be a priority. But beyond that, they're still working on a specific plan.
So, the Finance Committee agreed to earmark the money for Downtown development. And give the DIA a little more time to sort out the details.
Oliver Barakat, with DIA, was satisfied with that outcome, saying, "We're a new authority. And we need to build trust with the public."
Here's the catch. The City Council doesn't have to give the entire $9 million to the DIA. If it decides that money is needed elsewhere, it has the authority to spend it.
That $9 million dollars was gained when the City refinanced some it's bonds, which is similar to getting money after you refinance a house. It got an additional $2 million to fund projects in other parts of the county.