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NEWS BRIEFS A committee approved by the City and County commissions will weigh whether a special taxing district should continue for downtown Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel COUNTY COMMISSION APPROVES CRA COMMITTEE MEMBERS With a unanimous vote on April 9, the Sarasota County Commission approved the 11 members already given the nod by the Sarasota City Commission to serve on a committee to determine whether the two local governments' Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) will be extended for downtown Sarasota. Russell, Joel Freedman, Casey Colburn and Ernie DuBose. In related action, County Commissioner Christine Robinson made a motion, which also was approved on a 5-0 vote, to direct the committee members to provide a historical report on how the CRA funds have been spent and the effectiveness of those expenditures, to evaluate the current structure of the CRA and to recommend how the CRA could be structured in the future if the two local governments decide to keep it in place. The CRA is set to expire in 2016. According to recent figures, $3.1 million from city taxes and $3.5 million from county taxes are going toward improvements in the defined area of the CRA. Of the city's share, $2.6 million is going back into the general fund for necessary Robinson pointed out, "I am completely non-committal … at this point" about whethservices. er the CRA should be extended. The committee members are Andy Dorr, Chris Gallagher, Mark Huey, Katie Leonard, Michael "I think that's a great idea," Chairwoman CarBeaumier, Frank Carol, David Merrill, Bill olyn Mason said of the motion. "I know [the

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