St. Johns County issued a statement explaining why its commissioners voted to withhold funding for the JAXUSA Partnership after a proposal to rebrand Northeast Florida as Jacksonville.
“Our Board of County Commissioners expressed concern with the direction of JAXUSA’s proposed marketing plan and voted to withhold additional funding until a final regional designation is identified,” the emailed statement said.
“Business recruitment, retention, and expansion remain high priorities for St. Johns County, and ensuring the community’s identity and quality of life remain visible is a crucial component of our Economic Development efforts.”
The statement was released after a Friday meeting between JAXUSA Partnership President Aundra Wallace and St. Johns County Administrator Mike Wanchick. They met to discuss the county's relationship with JAXUSA, which is the economic development division of JAX Chamber and funded by seven regional counties, including St. Johns.
"We had a good, productive meeting (Friday) and I plan to meet with each St. Johns County commissioner individually to answer any questions they have and discuss how we can continue to work together to drive quality economic growth for the entire region," Wallace said in an emailed statement.
Last Tuesday, the five commissioners discussed the partnership’s "Elevate Northeast Florida" report that recommended rebranding Northeast Florida as Jacksonville.
The St. Johns County Commission voted unanimously to stop future payments, which are $50,000 annually, to the partnership until the report's rebranding recommendation and the partnership's support for the county are explained.
The St. Johns commissioners said rebranding the entire region would not represent the county's interests and individuality.