Sarasota News Leader

08/09/2013 & 08/16/2013

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Page 88 of 113

OPINION CITY CRA PLAN IS HARD TO FIND AND A DECADE OUT OF DATE By Stan Zimmerman City Editor COMMENTARY If the City Commission wants to convince the County Commission to extend the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) beyond its 2016 expiration date, it has a lot of convincing to do. And it should not expect the County Commission to go hunting for reasons to make the extension happen. up documentation, dating back to 1986, when the two governmental bodies agreed in a short memo to fight slum and blight downtown. To improve the area covered by the CRA, both ​ bodies froze their property tax receipts at the 1986 level. As property values and tax rates changed, any increase in revenue over the 1986 level accrued to the CRA for spending ​ he Sarasota News Leader is the only news downtown. This plan turned out to be a giant T organization so far to cover the work of the economic engine, generating as much as $10 CRA extension committee. We have reported million per year before the recession; it is still producing nearly $7 million per year today. on a variety of experts who have traveled to town to educate the committee and one Sara- ​ ecause county tax rates are higher than the B sota mayor who was there at the beginning city's, the county fraction of the CRA contriof the downtown agency. We have seen city bution is a bit bigger. To use very round figstaffers overwhelm the committee with back- ures, of the $7 million contributed to the CRA

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