LTE: Michael English
Tampa Bay Times
Dec. 25, 2017
The 2018 Florida legislative session is almost upon us, bringing with it the introduction of two bills attacking community redevelopment agencies, or CRAs. The proposed legislation would enact crippling limitations in an attempt to impede the creation of new CRAs and phase out existing programs all over the state.
CRAs breathe new life into downtowns and older urban neighborhoods through otherwise unaffordable projects such as road and infrastructure improvements, building renovations and the creation of affordable housing.
CRAs are funded using tax revenues from increases in property values in the CRA neighborhood. Revenues are reinvested only into the areas they serve. Additionally, each redevelopment plan is uniquely designed by the community, addressing an area’s individual revitalization goals and needs. The activities of CRAs are kept transparent through five annual reports that agencies are required to release by law, detailing all activities, finances and administration, as well as by direct oversight from the local government of each city.