Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

Real news for working families.  An online newspaper

Lake City

Hutton Development Scores: City Council Approves 10yr $440,000 Tax Abatement & $340k in Cash

Hutton's Kevin Jennings makes his pitch to the City Council.

LAKE CITY, FL – Last night the Lake City, City Council approved an open-ended Development Agreement with Hutton Gleason Place LC, LLC, a business registered with the state a little more than 3 weeks ago. The project will develop the old K-Mart shopping center on U.S. 90. See: Econ Development Bd Recommends $1,650,000 Retail Incentive for Another Shopping Mall.

The only question came from Councilwoman Melinda Moses, who asked for clarification on the tax rebate/abatement, which is estimated to return to Hutton $44,000 each year for the next 10 years. The City has also agreed to kick in $340,000 from the Impact Fee Trust Fund to reimburse Hutton for the improvements to the unsafe waterlines which will supply the proposed shopping center and presently provides water to the Lake City Mall.

Public-Private Partnership?

The Private-Public Partnership                         ++ Enlarge

Hutton describes the project as a Public-Private Partnership.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."

It has been established that the $1.45mil represents the profit for Hutton, which the public will guarantee through this agreement and one presented to the County 5.

The City is also donating up to $40,000 in site plan, City review, and permit fees.

Project Summary   ++

During the discussion, Mayor Witt said he thought the project was a good idea and he was looking forward to seeing the site developed.

Your reporter pointed out that retail salaries are generally minimum wage and low paying jobs without benefits and don't pay a living or livable wage. He asked the council to think about that before voting.

It is not clear what the City Council was thinking. They voted unanimously, without discussion, to give Hutton what it asked for without modification restrictions, or guarantees.


After the meeting and after voting to give Hutton $820,000 of City incentives, your reporter asked Walmart executive and City Council member Zack Paulk, "Could you support your family (1 wife; 2 children) on $8.40hr.?"

Councilman Paulk answered, "We can't tell em' what to pay. It's creatin' jobs."

Thursday night the Hutton Road Show is scheduled for the County 5.

Comments (to add a comment go here

This work by the Columbia County Observer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.


Make a comment • click here •
All comments are displayed at the end of the article and are moderated.

Related Articles - 2016 Econ Dev:

Czar Power: County 5 Chair Loads the Bases, Nash Out as Econ Dev Advisory Bd Chief  December 27, 2016

Columbia County 5 Approves $25,000 for Ten Pages of TDC Web Content
 December 16, 2016 

Econ Dev Strategic Plan Committee Meets: More Interested in Massaging the Truth Than Telling It   November 29, 2016

Columbia Cnty Econ Dev Incentives: Home-Grown, Mom-and-Pops, Small Business Need Not Apply November 3, 2016

After Giving Away Millions, Columbia County Economic Development Incentives May be Heading Into Prime Time
October 28, 2016

Taxpayers on the Hook - $10,000 No Strings Attached, Cnty Econ Dev: FSU's Hendry Scores September 9, 2016

Cnty Chair Reverses Vote - Love's Wins - Confusion Part II of Economic Development the County 5 Way August 5, 2016

Cnty Chair Throws Econ Dev Advisory Bd Under Bus Part I of Economic Development the County 5 Way  August 5, 2016

County 5 Poised To Give Away Another $ Million Plus Incentive for 35 Low Paying Jobs August 4, 2016

$1,325,000 Econ Dev Incentive On Tap At County 5 Tonight: Minimum Wage Unclear  July 21, 2016

Econ Dev: Extenuating Circumstance, Late Notice, Lack of Agenda Keeps Public in the Dark  July 19, 2016

Columbia County Workforce Development Summit On Tap for September
June 22, 2016

Cnty 5 to Vote on $869,140 Tax Abatement for Econ Underdevelopment Non-Living Wage Jobs   June 16, 2016

Columbia Cnty Econ Development "We don't have a workforce strategy"
June 1, 2016

Drunk With Power, Nash Board Plays Post Office W/Developer - County Bldg Leased for a Buck  May 21, 2016

Hutton Development Scores: City Council Approves 10yr $440,00 Tax Abatement & $340k in Cash  June 14, 2016

 • Econ Development Bd Recommends $1,650,000 Retail Incentive for Another Shopping Mall  April 7, 2016

 •  Parker Neely – Gateway Crossing Scores Big: On Tap for $255,000 Plus free Association Dues March 5, 2016

 • The 5 Sends Neely–Gateway Crossing $255,0000 EDAB Incentive Back to the Drawing Board  Feb. 22, 2016

  • To Incentivize or Not to Incentivize: EDAB Approves $255k Gateway Crossings Incentive

Feb. 19, 2016

 • Lake City Developer Wants $255,000 From County, City Manager Johnson says, "It's a deal"  January 07, 2016

 • Columbia County Economic Development: Confusion 101 "What's goin' on?"
Nov. 6, 2015

 • Columbia County 5 At It Again: Skimming $80,000 of Cream Out of Taxpayer's Pockets

July 22, 2013