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Sarasota News Leader April 19, 2013 Page 43 For the first year, of course, the amount was Every city success reflected well on the counzero. This year it is $6,981,172. ty. The city is not only the county seat but also the area's center of arts, commerce, finance Theoretically, this is money neither the city and entertainment. nor the county would miss, because it is all "new money" from rising property values. That Both city and county governments are eyeing was the whole idea. CRAs would fight "slum the CRA money. County commissioners have and blight" by allowing cities and counties to already plugged their contribution into prepour money into areas that needed help. dictions of future budgets. When 2016 arrives, Sarasota's CRA was set up for a defined area their $3.5 million will help plug a long-running around downtown. And over the years, it has deficit, with reserves having been used in past poured millions into downtown, with the tax years to make up the loss of property tax indifferential supporting bond issues for large come as a result of the Great Depression. public projects as well as for additional ser- The city could use its $3.2 million portion to pay for other projects or necessities beyond vices such as heightened police protection. downtown. Sarasota County has been a passive player, relinquishing the money (this year, $3.5 mil- When the two commissions sat down in a lion) and watching the city spend it. That fact joint meeting on Feb. 5, they instructed City has produced some sour grapes at times, but Manager Tom Barwin and County Administracounty commissioners over the decades real- tor Randall Reid to devise a plan to address ized that if the city failed, the situation would the post-CRA environment. Barwin and Reid drag down the county, too. came up with the 11-person committee. The city and county commissions meet together on Feb. 5. Photo by Norman Schimmel

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