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$1.1M to lure mystery company to Collier

Posted at 6:27 PM, May 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-24 18:38:59-04

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla.- Collier County commissioners approved the spending of $1.1. million Tuesday to lure a company to move its headquarters to the county, but the identity of company is a secret - for now. The effort to bring the company to Collier is known as Project Nikita.

"It's a corporate headquarters - that's all I can disclose at this time," said Kristi Bartlett of the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce.

She said the company will bring about 560 jobs along with it, with an average wage of over $49,000 per year. It will be fronting $63 million of its own money in capital investment.

Commissioners said the incentive is a perfect opportunity to bring big business to the county.

"I think that $63 million means these people are very serious, so I do support it," said Commissioner Tim Nance.

Resident Joseph Doyle voiced concerns that business incentives favor big companies.

"This could be crony capitalism, where we're giving incentives, and picking winners and losers by the government," Doyle said. "It's not a fair playing field for your small business people, who don't get those kind of incentives."

Commissioner Georgia Hiller dismissed any notion of cronyism, saying that a business venture either qualifies for the incentives, or it doesn't.

"It's not a subjective decision," Hiller said. "It's a non-political, non-subjective decision."

Bartlett said that the economic stimulus from Project Nikita will be worth the money that the county is spending to bring the company to Collier.

""Forbes named us as one of the top job-growth counties in the nation," she said. "But when you look at that, those jobs are retail-wage jobs, and we need to diversify locally."

The identity of the secret company likely won't be revealed until June.