Two and half hours of intense discussion and the Leon County Commission decides to turn direction on bringing a Canadian company to Leon County.
County staff had made a strong recommendation to commissioners to say no to investing money to bring the Canadian company, Danfoss-Turbocor to Tallahassee. The company had promised to bring 150 high paying jobs, but the deal wouldn't fly with a majority of Leon County commissioners.
In a 5-2 vote, the board opted to invest the previously appropriated $1.6 million in local businesses instead.
Bill Proctor, Chairman of the Leon County Commission, says, "The difficulty was the parent company, which had a revenue of $2 billion, would not guarantee rent for the amount and for length of years."
Proctor went on to say he could not support the company if it could not commit to a 20-year lease agreement. The decision was a major blow to Tallahassee Community College President Bill Law who helped recruit the company.
Dr. Bill Law says, "It was secure, there was no money at risk and also, jobs on the upside, so I'm not quite sure I understand exactly what the concerns were."
The deal would've cost the county a little more than $3.1 million for its share to build the company a facility in Innovation Park. The city would be responsible for the other half.
Cliff Thaell, Leon County Commissioner, says, "I think this drastically changes the direction of economic development in this community. That might be for the best."
He had voted in favor of the company relocating to Tallahassee.
County staff say the $1.6 million will go towards expanding and diversifying local businesses and developing a small business incentive program.
Tallahassee city commissioners will consider their end of the deal Wednesday night. Danfoss-Turbocor Manufactures air conditioner compressors using magnetic technologies. Company President Joseph Grosz told commissioners they want to relocate because there is little demand for their product in Canada and the inability to attract qualified employees.
We asked Chairman Bill Proctor if the relocation deal could ever come back before the commission. He said not under the circumstances that were proposed Tuesday night.