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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Jun. 5, 201905:20 AM EST

New details on Project Liberty, the IT company seeking incentives to bring jobs to city

City report says the company would retain 458 existing jobs and the additions would boost its workforce to 656.
by: Mike Mendenhall Staff Writer

More details emerged Tuesday about Project Liberty as the City Council Finance Committee approved an incentives package for it to create 198 jobs.

The council auditor reported that the unidentified existing international IT company would retain 458 existing jobs and the additions would boost its workforce to 656.

Office of Economic Development Executive Director Kirk Wendland told committee Chair Greg Anderson the combined jobs will make the company a significant employer in Jacksonville.

The committee approved the city’s portion of a city-state $990,000 incentive package.

Resolution 2019-337 will allow the city to enter Project Liberty into the state Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund program.

Of the total, the city will repay $198,000, or 20 percent, and the state would refund $792,000.

The Finance Committee approved the bill 6-0 vote. Council member Bill Gulliford was absent.

The QTI refund of up to $5,000 per job will begin in 2020 after employees are hired and their salaries are confirmed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

The auditor’s office said the IT company has agreed to create 30 jobs by Dec. 31; 84 more by Dec. 31, 2020; and an additional 84 by Dec. 31, 2021.

The bill keeps confidential the company’s name and the project location, citing a Florida law that protects that identity during the incentives approval process.

Wendland said the average salary for the new positions will be $69,000.

“That number of jobs times those wages adds about $13.6 million in salaries to the community,” Wendland said. “We always try to be very conservative and just talk about the project itself, but you can understand the secondary impacts.”

The company is expected to invest $1.7 million in property improvements, IT and office equipment.

The fast-track bill allows for a two-reading passage through council.

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