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Cnty 5 to Vote on $869,140 Tax Abatement for Econ Underdevelopment Non-Living Wage Jobs

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COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – On tap at the County 5 at 5:30 pm tonight is Hutton Development's month old LLC, known as Hutton Gleason Place, LC, request for an $869,140 tax abatement over 10 years. In return, the County will get an employment boost of mostly low paying, minimum wage or barely above minimum wage – non living wage jobs, but will fill the County Coffers with additional sales tax revenue.

Public-Private Partnership?
The Numbers Don't Add Up

County Econ Dev Dir Hunter and Hutton's Jennings at the Lake City presentation.

It was reported earlier, Hutton Development Scores: City Council Approves 10yr $440,000 Tax Abatement & $340k in Cash, that Hutton's Kevin Jennings described the project as a Public-Private Partnership.

We reported the "Partnership" appears to be the public will provide $1,450,000 in Hutton's words, to cover the "Day-one shortfall of $1.45mil in order to reach required investment hurdle."

The "investment hurdle" is the profit for Hutton.

A re-examination of the numbers, shows that if tonight, The 5 approves the proposed tax abatement, the estimated County investment will be $869,140 over ten years. The "abatement" comes in the form of a tax refund. Hutton Gleason, LLC, the developer, pays the tax, the County 5 refunds it.

Another $199k From the County to Sweeten the Pot

Adding the City's investment of $820,000 to the County's proposed $869,140 is not $1.45mil, but $1,649,140. The difference, $199,140 gives Hutton an extra $199k of profit to sweeten to pot.

Retail Jobs

Retail jobs, the kind of jobs that will be coming to Columbia County, are notoriously some of the lowest paying jobs in America. They don't pay a livable or living wage and benefits are just a pipe dream for most of these workers.

How Much Does the Part Time 5 Make?

The Columbia County 5 from left to right: Commissioners Ronald Williams;
Rusty DePratter; Bucky Nash; Everett Phillips; Scarlet Frisina

The County 5 meets twice a month. They generally have other meetings with other boards, when they are not traveling to taxpayer funded functions to meet other county or state luminaries. One example of this is the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council where they sit on mostly rubber stamp committees and get a free meal, at taxpayer expense. The meal does not appear to be a legal taxpayer funded expense.

For the few days a month that a commissioner may actually work, they earn $42,913 and receive benefits (health insurance, retirement, etc.) which cost the taxpayers another $22,810.67 (benefits based on 2013/08/30).


If a commissioner actually worked 5 full days (when was the last time you saw your commissioner?) they would be earning an hourly rate of approximate $80hr plus benefits.

Tonight, the County 5 will vote whether or not to give a tax abatement to a private company that will be responsible for bringing to the County almost 200 non-living wage jobs.

This may be economic development for the County's coffers, the money that pays The 5, but it is economic underdevelopment for the workers.

Comments  (to add a comment go here) 

On June 17, 2016, Disgusted & Appalled in Fort White wrote:

More relevant articles on how the City Council and the County Commission enrich developers and shaft the taxpayers!

Both groups need to put their heads back on and support $15 an hr jobs with benefits. They might also want to thinks about employing our own County run Ambo service and our own County Animal Control Depts. These would be quality professional jobs done by people who actually care about their fellow citizens and taxpayers.

That must be some tasty Kool-Aid the politicians are drinking to waste all our money on developers and legal fees for botched contract negotiations.

Disgusted and Appalled in Fort White


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