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JAX Chamber recruiting international business in London

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Updated: 10/26/2013 12:32 am
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- As the Jaguars embark on their trip to England, local leaders are drawing up plays to win over international business.

The Jaguars aren't the only team representing the River City in London.

Some of the area's brightest business minds also crossed the pond.

Their game plan won't be executed on the field, but in board rooms and banquet halls.

"This trip is 100 percent economic development," said Dan Dawson with JAX Chamber. "This isn't a first time meet-and-greet. This is further down the line. They're going to get into a little bit more details about what our city can offer them."

The JAX Chamber delegation is a roster of seven people including Mike Hightower, a senior vice president of Florida Blue, CSX Chief Financial Officer Fred Eliasson, and former Jacksonville Mayor and current University of North Florida President John Delaney.

The team will tackle up to five meetings a day with European executives.

The goal is to recruit new business in northeast Florida.

Owner of the Jacksonville Landing, Toney Sleiman, sees this trip as an opportunity for his downtown retail hub.

"If you had somebody come here and create 100 jobs from England, that would be worth it. That's 100 new people in the area and their families," said Sleiman. "That helps the Jacksonville Landing because they will come here and visit us."

Details about who our business and civic leaders are meeting with are kept confidential.

But Action News has learned the delegation will be rubbing elbows with a diverse group of industry executives at The Oval, an international cricket stadium located in London.

"I've been on these trips," said Sleiman. "It does give us exposure, we get business out of it. It works."

The city of Jacksonville sent three people to London, including Mayor Alvin Brown.

The first meeting listed on the city's calendar for Brown is tomorrow morning.

Brown plans to fly back on the team plane. That flight, along with the cost of meals, hotels and flights for Brown, Council President Bill Gulliford and Office of Economic Development Executive Director Ted Carter will cost the city in excess of $10,000.

A city spokesman says it is standard practice for the city to pay these costs.
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Papakilo - 10/22/2013 11:45 PM
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I think it is nice that our mayor and entourage market in England and all the other places they visit on our tax dime. BUT, when will the taxpayers of Jacksonville start getting decent tax relief in return for all the benefits the mayor and "city" are spending. We have watched our taxes go up, up and up for many years. I think it is about time for the city council and mayor to start an annual relief of our tax burden, instead of "tax and spend, then tax some more". Now JTA wants "bus lanes" on our streets? They are so mismanaged, they can't even keep their bus drivers from speeding daily down small streets. Supposively, the expensive monitors and recorders were installed to monitor bus speed and onboard activity. Like everything the city fathers spend our taxes on, which are to make us safer, are useless as the people and administrators hired to check those devices. Many buses still regularly exceed the posted speed limit by 10, 20 MPH and more. This is especially dangerous on small streets with a double yellow line and 25 and 30 MPH limits. For many years we taxpayers have watched our city maintenance and safety go down hill while our taxes continue to increase. Where is the relief, when will it stop, when will city administrators actually start doing their job RESPONSIBLY? Just my opinion, of incompetence.
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