Amazon.com Inc plans to set up a second headquarters in Northern Virginia, having been rejected in New York,
facing its first test when local officials vote on Saturday for a proposed financial package worth an estimated $ 51 million.
In November, Amazon chose National Landing, a site owned by Arlington County and Alexandria, just outside Washington, along with New York for the so-called HQ2 or other headquarters.
It followed a year-long search where hundreds of municipalities, ranging from Newark, New Jersey, to Indianapolis, competed for the coveted tax dollars and high pay jobs the project promises.
In February, Amazon suddenly abolished plans to build part of its second headquarters in New York after opposition from local leaders, upset by incentives promised by state and city politicians.
While the opposition in Arlington is still decisive, the poll has become a political flashpoint between the project's follower and activist opponents. It has given local activists the opportunity to push for a delay, so that the county's proposals can be evaluated and discussed further.
A panel of five members of the Arlington County Board will vote on whether Amazon will receive the estimated $ 51
Amazon has also been offered a $ 750 million package by the state that Virginia General Assembly approved with little opposition.
The scene at Saturday's voice is probably different. It is expected that at least 100 members from local activist groups will participate. Protests are expected to start at least one hour before the vote comes up for the hearing at 1pm EST, Reuters has learned from workgroups.
The $ 51 million includes a controversial direct financial incentive or cash grant of $ 23 million to Amazon over 15 years, which will be collected from the Arlington hotel room tax. The grant is conditional on Amazon occupying six million square meters of office space over the first 16 years.
Arlington has also offered to invest around $ 28 million over 10 years of future property tax revenue rather than infrastructure and headquarters open space.
An application on the County's website says $ 23 million scholarships and $ 28 million in strategic public infrastructure investments were "instrumental in Amazon choosing Arlington for its headquarters."
A spokesman in the county refused to comment.
The Arlington County Chair Christian Dorsey has announced that he had "no interest" by postponing the vote, had not heard any suggestion to do so from other board members, and expected the move to pass.
The Amazon's 25,000 new jobs will help offset the more than 34,000 jobs that Arlington has lost since 2003 due to federal agency bars and other factors, and help diversify the local economy, said company spokeswoman Jill Kerr. "Our $ 2.5 billion investment will generate more than $ 3.2 billion in tax revenue that can be spent on public services."
Activists from For Us, not Amazon, a coalition of nine working groups and green root organizations working in areas such as minority persecution, are not convinced.
Roshan Abraham, an organizer from Our Revolution Arlington, a coalition leader, said that his group wants Amazon to engage more in society, hold public hearings on company investments, raise rising housing costs, offset low-income families near proposed site and donate for affordable housing funds.
"What we are very worried about is that Amazon has met behind closed doors, on invitation events, but has not met the public in a public way," he said.
Amazon said it has met many community leaders and residents, including local businesses, non-profit organizations, and community and community associations, and will continue to engage with them as it expands its presence in Arlington.