Sarasota News Leader

01/17/2014

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Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Extension Study Committee have wrestled with the mechanics of the CRA's future — how the money should be spent; who should make the decisions; what the boundaries should be. Now the question is will the city and county commissions buy the answers? Page 69 In today's rough numbers, the county share is about $4 million, while the city's is about $3.5 million. The money is plowed back into the defined area for improvements. What constitutes an "improvement" is subject to wide interpretation. If the property values in the CRA continue to climb at 5 percent per year, as they have done The CRA is a method of shifting property over the past 28 years, the combined citytax revenue from general fund budgets into county contribution for the next 30 years will specified areas. The city and county agreed exceed $500 million. So the stakes are high. in 1986 to freeze their property tax income The city has used the CRA money to pay for from a specific area of downtown Sarasota. certain operations that normally would have Any increase in tax revenue in subsequent to be covered out of its general fund, a fact years — mostly through property assessment the county finds troublesome. To cool the inflation — would accrue to the CRA and not county's ire, the study committee suggested the county be allowed to "skim" from the CRA city and county general funds. ENTICEMENTS OFFERED The CRA Extension Study Committee members discuss matters in November. Photo by Stan Zimmerman

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