Dec. 20, 2017
With increased buzz surrounding Florida’s community redevelopment agencies (CRAs), there has been a considerable amount of misinformation going around.
It’s time to sift through the untruths and share the facts about CRAs.
CRAs are created by local governments to revitalize targeted areas that have been neglected or forgotten. They breathe new life into communities through projects such as roadway improvements, building renovations, business development and property improvement grants, infrastructure improvements and neighborhood parks.
No state or federal dollars are spent by CRAs. The agencies are financed through tax increment funding, which captures existing property tax revenue, not an additional tax, from property value increases in a designated area – increases that are the result of effective redevelopment and financial reinvestment.
As executive director of the Boynton Beach CRA, I am proud of the way our agency is transforming Boynton Beach for the better. But our city’s prosperity is under attack.
Proposals in the Florida Legislature aim to enact crippling limitations in an attempt to impede the creation of new CRAs and phase out existing programs. Critics point to a few isolated instances of apparent (or alleged) abuses relating to these programs, which distracts from the big picture of how CRAs are helping improve lives every day. To paraphrase an old saw, a few bad apples should not imply that 224 CRAs in Florida are rotten and need fixing.