Incentive package approval could mean hundreds of new Austin jobs

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Hundreds of new jobs could be on their way to Austin, with starting salaries around $59,000 a year.

City Council members approved incentive packages for two companies, Websense and Dropbox, with a 5-2 vote on Thursday.

The deal would require the companies to invest $15 million in the city, and in exchange the city would pay about $682,500 in incentives throughout the next 10 years.

Right now, Dropbox has 30 employees at an office on Congress Avenue. They are proposing to not only keep those jobs but add 170 more.

In order to get $244,500 in incentives from the city, they would have to pay at least $59,000 a year to their employees and invest $5.5 million in the city.

Websense, a computer security software company based in San Diego, is looking to move its entire operation to Austin. The city has offered $438,000 in incentives.

It would create 470 jobs that pay a minimum of $82,000 a year to its new employees. Under the agreement, the company would be required to invest $10 million in real estate and business personal property.

In order to receive these incentives, both companies must meet yearly goals that are set out by the city’s Economic Development Office, such as job creation and investing in the city.

“This is a competitive process, and both companies are looking at other locations for potentially building employees. And there are many variables for deciding, and finance is one of those variables,” said David Colligan, manager for Business Recruitment and Expansion with the City of Austin.

Right now, the city’s Economic Development Office has 11 companies they are paying incentives to for creating jobs in Austin.

Companies like Facebook, Visa, and Apple have been part of the program.

Most recently, Council approved Athenahealth’s incentive package that requires the company to create more than 600 jobs when it opens in the Seaholm Power Plant.

City Council will vote on this incentive packages for Dropbox and Websense at 1:30 p.m. Thursday at Austin City Hall.

If it’s approved, the companies are expected to notify the city within a few weeks if they will create the jobs in Austin.

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