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      Columbia City Council bets on Innovista

      Columbia City Council gave its okay to a $150 million tax bond to fund Innovista's expansion plans.

      Innovista has its critics and not everyone thinks Columbia City Council TMs $150 million tax bond to expand the project is worth the immediate risks.

      I don TMt have a problem with Innovista, says Sam Davis. It TMs all about creating jobs in this city.

      USC TMs research campus is said to bring in some 28,000 high-paying jobs, but so far the two buildings only host a handful of tenants.

      Innovista Director Don Herriott says be patient.

      Hopefully I TMll help accelerate the process, but it TMs a long-term commitment, said Don Herriott.

      The decision to spend more money on Innovista brings mixed reactions from the community.

      It TMs a tough time economically, but I think it TMs making people more swift on their feet so they are going to be wiser about their investments, says resident Zack Tembi. It TMs going to be more calculated and right now is the time to grow and develop.

      My position on this is the money, says resident Tyrone Davis, because it TMs the people TMs money.

      Don Weaver of the South Carolina Association of Taxpayers can TMt understand the city TMs reasoning when the area has so many other needs. The city is considering a potential 11% property tax hike to pay for police and fire vehicles.

      To say that we have to have a property tax hike at the same time we are passing incremental financing for Innovista, I think it TMs the wrong time in this economy, said Don Weaver.

      The investment in the project TMs success will not affect the city TMs tax base yet, but council members say they TMll be ready to act on their vote when the time is right.