If you go
The Collier County Commission meets beginning at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the commission chambers at the county government complex, corner of Airport-Pulling Road and U.S. 41 East. Public petitions are toward the early part of the day’s agenda.
NAPLES — Janet Vasey can expect numerous nods of agreement when she addresses the Collier County Commission on Tuesday to request a mail-in referendum on the proposed Jackson Laboratory project.
Vasey, of North Naples, is scheduled to speak to the commission during the public petition segment of the meeting after submitting a request in late August.
Petition speakers are limited to 10 minutes and commissioners typically don’t act on the issue at hand but could schedule a discussion for a future board meeting.
Vasey wants the board to consider a mail-in referendum in December so voters can have their say on $130 million in local taxpayer money potentially being used to lure the Maine-based Jackson to eastern Collier.
The state Legislature earmarked $50 million this past spring for the project and would need to allocate $80 million more in subsequent years.
Vasey, who couldn’t be reached Monday, previously has said she is acting on her own. Even so, the proposed project, spearheaded by the Economic Development Council to help diversify the economy and create jobs, is angering many residents because of the price tag and because the commission hasn’t put the funding to a referendum.
During their July 27 meeting, commissioners rejected a motion by Commissioner Tom Henning for a referendum on the Nov. 2 ballot.
Tammie Nemecek, president and chief executive director of the EDC, said there will be some project supporters on hand at the commission meeting but nobody can speak on others’ petition requests.
The proposed project calls for Jackson to build a genetics research institute on 50 acres off Oil Well Road near Ave Maria which would be donated from the Barron Collier Co. Jackson would aim to create 244 jobs in 10 years and would serve as an anchor to help attract other businesses and research entities with the idea that a larger biomedical park gets established and thousands of new jobs would be created.
(Click for large map of proposed site for Jackson Laboratory)
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Reporting from Bar Harbor, Maine: