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Sarasota News Leader October 18, 2013 financial device to fight slum and blight. In 1986, those terms could have described much of downtown. Today, few would describe the downtown area in such a manner. The CRA will expire in 2016. Page 65 To say the results are of interest to city commissioners is a great understatement. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT This agenda item specifically says "efforts by the City of Sarasota," but city commissioners might want to ask some questions about the county's efforts in light of recent revelations about significant economic development grants that figuratively turned to dust. If the financial scheme is extended another 30 years, it could result in the shift of possibly $250 million from the city and county budgets. A little more than half of that amount would come from Sarasota County coffers over the three decades, and it would contribute to City property owners pay county taxes; therewhat many now call the economic heart of fore, improving city property values is in the county. both commissions' interest. Earlier this year, But other parts of the county are looking for the County Commission demanded some help, too. Some would like their own CRA. changes in city zoning, especially along the But when the extension committee members North Tamiami Trail. started thinking of creating a model CRA The county commissioners wanted those ordinance, the County Commission fell into changes to increase density to support a bus an uproar. One commissioner called for the rapid transit system they were proposing. committee chairman to resign, so he did. The city polished off a three-year effort to The new chairman does not use the word establish an "overlay district" in the area, but "model" anymore, and he will be briefing the it did not increase the density. Thereafter, the two commissions on where his committee is county dropped its plans for a bus rapid transit system. Were the two actions related? headed at this point. The County Commission sits in session in March. File photo

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