VIERA, Florida -- The Brevard County Commission shot down a proposal made by Commissioner Trudie Infantini Tuesday night to conduct a performance audit of the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast which receives $1.4 million annually from the County.
Infantini had suggested that Brevard County conduct an audit similar to what Lee County had conducted earlier this year. The Lee County Economic Development Office's Marketing Director resigned in May during that audit conducted by the Lee County Clerk of Court which alleges possible conflicts of interests in awarding contracts.
"It started at about $500,000 in 1999 and it has progressively made it into $1.4 million and I want to see what the taxpayers are getting for their money," said Infantini.
"I just want to go over whether or not this is necessary," said Commissioner Mary Bolin. "They have gone through two audits this year alone. It's my understanding that an audit is going to cost about $30,000. I just want to make sure that the Commissioners understand that we would be using taxpayer's money for something if they feel it is necessary."
After Infantini made a motion to conduct the performance-based audit, none of the four other Commissioners would second the motion. Infantini then turned to Commissioner Andy Anderson and said, "So not one Commissioner, even you Commissioner Anderson, wants transparency in government?" Anderson had previously said at the August 20 Commission meeting that he did not have a problem with audit.
"If you take the Embraer deal, they've got $50 million invested," Commissioner Robin Fisher said. "They're getting ready to do a partnership with FIT. I think the EDC has probably paid for itself from some of the other stuff they've done over recent years. I don't think anyone on this Board is going to question whether we got our value out of the EDC."
Referring to the 2011/12 EDC Annual Report, Commissioner Chuck Nelson listed the companies brought by the EDC: Embraer, Bertram Yachts, Boeing, Harris, XCOR, Rocket Crafters, and BlueWare. "Now frankly, that gets you in the Hall of Fame to have that kind of success with those kinds of companies," Nelson said.