Collier county leaders are coming up with various options to get money to attract Jackson Labs to come here. The Maine-based company would like to open a genetics research lab in Collier, if the money is right.
"I believe there are ways to combine a small increase in property taxes, maybe 2.8%, with a small extra utility fee of 2.5%, to raise the money," said Janet Vasey, a member of the Collier Govt. Productivity committee. "The impacts would be relatively minor on the homeowner, maybe 52 dollars a year on a home valued for tax purposes at 200-thousand dollars." Vasey added, one drawback is that the utility franchise fee can only be used in un-incorporated Collier, not in the cities of Naples or Marco Island. "That does tend to make it unfair," acknowledged Vasey.
The subcommittee members met Wednesday, and dropped the use of sales tax, as an option. Members said the use of the sales tax for a private business development most likely would violate state law. They want that option, eliminated from consideration.
"I oppose the entire thing," said Duane Billington, a homeowner in Golden Gate. "I know that granny has trouble buying food right now, so how can she help to pay for this? It is wrong, totally wrong."
Collier Commissioners are supposed to get recommendations from the Productivity Committee in a few weeks. Commissioners have the final say on the fate, and financing, for the Jackson Labs project.