Upon declaration of an area as blighted, the CRA works to improve conditions. As property tax values rise, most of the increase is funneled back into the redevelopment area for further improvements. An estimate provide by Escambia County showed Century might, in a best case scenario, receive about $5,300 in tax funds for the first year of a CRA that included a full maximum 80 percent of the town. However, Council President Ben Boutwell said 100 percent of the town will be eligible for inclusion in the CRA.
Essentially, CRAs use redevelopment funds within a deteriorating area to transform it into one that again contributes to the overall health of a community. The money can roll over year to year, up a 40-year life for a CRA.
CRA funds can be used for a variety of public purposes, including items specified in the agency’s redevelopment plan, planning and surveys, acquisition of real property, affordable housing development and community policing innovations.