Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Council Approves $500 Per-Job Incentive for UBS

Posted By on Wed, Sep 18, 2013 at 8:48 AM

As expected, the Metro Council approved an incentive deal for UBS Tuesday night that will pay the global financial services firm $500 for every new job they bring to Nashville.

UBS announced plans last month to invest $36.5 million to establish a Business Solutions Center downtown that would create 1,000 new jobs over the next five years. Earlier this month, the company confirmed that they would be moving into the Regions Center, which will become the UBS Tower.

Councilman Ronnie Steine, chairman of the council's Budget and Finance committee, told council members last night that there was no cap on the number of jobs UBS could add under the deal. Steine also said that Finance Director Rich Riebeling had committed to providing an update on this and other incentive packages as part of the budget process.

Riebeling said his office will provide the numbers — such as jobs created — that back up the incentive payments for various companies, to show that agreements are being upheld.

Councilwoman Karen Johnson rose in support of the deal, but added that some constituents have asked her how Metro can "make sure women and minorities are being hired as part of the 1,000 jobs." She said she is asking that UBS voluntarily report who they've hired on a monthly basis, categorized by gender, race and disability, and noted that she has discussed the idea with Matt Wiltshire, Metro's Director of Economic and Community Development.

Steine also said the state is pitching in $5 million.

As has become ritual when incentive deals are up for a vote, Councilman Josh Stites noted his objection.

"I have nothing negative to say about UBS, it's a great company," he said. "It's the other thousands of businesses in Nashville that don't get incentives from the government."

Stites also requested a machine vote, so that each council members vote would be recorded. The deal passed 34-2, with Stites and Councilman Tony Tenpenny voting no.

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