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April 4, 2017 / CorpWell

Redevelopment dollars under fire

Mishandling of CRA funds in South Florida

State legislators are considering a bill that could redirect millions of dollars earmarked for improving “blighted” local communities.

The proposed bill, House Bill 13, would eliminate Community Redevelopment Agencies, governmental bodies created to promote affordable housing, economic development, health and safety in under-served neighborhoods. In a nutshell, a CRA holds on to a set percentage of the property taxes paid by residents of a community and then invests that money back into the area.

The idea is that CRAs give residents of poor and working class neighborhoods a guarantee that at least some of their taxes will be dedicated to making their lives better, and not just making the rich in other parts of town richer.

Still, recent mishandling of CRA funds in South Florida has sparked legislation that would prohibit new CRAs from being formed after July 1, prohibit CRAs from taking on any new projects or debts after Oct. 1 and eliminate all of the state’s CRAs by 2037. The legislation would also create additional oversight and reporting requirements for all CRAs statewide.

It’s being described by some as the “nuclear option.” cont

 

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