Mayor Alvin Brown’s Office of Economic Development expects to make recommendations to City Council in several weeks about the city’s new incentives policy.
“The whole genesis of this is to make us more competitive and how we can compete to do more deals,” said Ted Carter, executive director of the office.
Avalanche Consulting Inc. of Austin, Texas, interviewed members of Brown’s administration, council and other economic development representatives last week.
The company, which also worked with the Innovate Northeast Florida study for the Northeast Florida Regional Council and JAXUSA Partnership, started the incentives contract March 4.
Carter said that among other issues, his team is asking Avalanche to look at how to create jobs in distressed communities. “In any urban city, distressed areas are more difficult,” he said.
“We’ve got some tools there that we need to take better advantage of and create better infrastructure. Training is a big piece of it, to really focus on workforce development,” he said.
Avalanche successfully bid for the two-phase, $60,000 contract to create an economic development profile report for the city and to develop a set of funding and incentives programs and review options and grants from the county, state and federal levels to promote job growth, support small business and promote and leverage investment in economically distressed levels.
The job is to update the city’s Public Investment Policy. The Invitation to Bid explains the city has had a policy in various forms since 1999, followed by a city strategic plan in 2004. The city has modified the policy twice since it was adopted.
After Avalanche provides its recommendations, Carter said his team will review them and send them to Brown and to council.
The recommendations will be considered by the council Finance Committee Economic Development Incentives Subcommittee, which is reviewing and analyzing the city’s current policies and strategies. Council member John Crescimbeni leads the subcommittee with members Greg Anderson and Matt Schellenberg.
The subcommittee is scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. June 10 at City Hall in Suite 425, Conference Room A.