Sarasota News Leader

09/27/2013

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UNDER FIRE The Downtown Community Redevelopment Area Extension Committee meets on Sept. 25 to evaluate the pros and cons of another 30 years of tax-increment financing. On an easel against the wall is a map of the two CRAs in Sarasota — one downtown and the other in north Sarasota. Photo by Stan Zimmerman COUNTY COMMISSIONERS CRITICIZE ACTIONS OF THE CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY EXTENSION COMMITTEE By Stan Zimmerman City Editor Many agree a community redevelopment agency (CRA) is a good idea. It allocates city and county property tax revenue into a specific area to fight slum and blight. Downtown Sarasota has enjoyed a CRA for 27 years. Over that time, Sarasota County has diverted nearly $60 million into downtown initiatives. other 30 years, about $160 million more in county money would end up downtown. Earlier this year, a study committee was appointed by the city and county commissioners to evaluate the value and implications of a 30-year extension of the CRA. But questions Three years from now, the CRA is sched- raised by committee Chairman David Meruled to go out of busirill are raising County ness unless the city Commission hackles. In my opinion, he either ought to and county agree to give it new life. Us- resign as chair or as committee member …. Without straining the metaphor, this has being conservative figJoe Barbetta Commissioner come a David versus ures, if the operation Sarasota County was to continue anGoliath affair, with Go-

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