City leaders generally are comfortable that the community is getting a good bang for the buck from companies that have received tax breaks from the city.
A new report from the City Clerk's office found that the eight companies that have received tax abatements from the city have produced more total jobs than originally was expected.
"I think the community has come out ahead," said Mayor Mike Dever, who also heads the city's Public Incentives Review Committee, which reviews the performance of companies that receive tax abatements.
The committee on Thursday unanimously approved its annual report, finding that all eight companies receiving tax breaks are in compliance with the city's economic development policies.
The new report found that in total the companies had exceeded their job creation projections by 87 full-time jobs and 123 part-time jobs.
"In general, people are living up to their projections," said City Commissioner Boog Highberger, who also is on the review committee.
Not every one of the eight companies, however, produced more jobs than projected. DST Systems - a financial services company - had 42 fewer full-time jobs than it projected when applying for the abatement in 2000. But the company has 108 more part-time jobs than it projected.
The committee did agree to send DST leaders a letter requesting more information on the company's shift to part-time employees.
Several companies produced more full-time jobs than projected. Packerware/Berry Plastics produced 116 more than projected, Amarr Garage Door Group added 27 more than projected, and Allen Press had 20 more than projections.
The report also viewed wage information from the companies. Those results varied widely. Amarr Garage Door Group topped that list, with 91 percent of its job categories paying a wage equal to or greater than the Lawrence average for that same type of job. DST Systems was at the bottom of the list with only 33 percent of its job categories meeting that standard.
But the review committee said it wasn't entirely comfortable with those numbers. City Clerk Frank Reeb told commissioners that it was often difficult to get good Lawrence wage average, and that it wasn't always easy to ensure that job categories were being fairly compared.
City commissioners are expected to review the report in coming weeks.