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Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 The numbers were compiled by Mark Huey, a member of the committee pondering what to do with the CRA when it comes up for expiration in 2016. The group is called the Downtown Community Redevelopment Area Extension Study Committee. Under state law, CRAs are established to fight "slum and blight," but there are few restrictions on expenditures of the "tax increment financing" (TIF) dollars. With the 30-year duration of the 1986 agreement approaching, the City and County commissions this year empaneled the committee to look at a CRA Page 73 for the future. They ordered the group to report back in January. The stakes are high. CHANGING THE GROUND RULES Even though more than half the CRA money comes from redirected Sarasota County property tax revenue, the County Commission has no say in how it is spent. As the committee examined the CRA's finances, it noticed an increasing trend for the city to use the money to pay for operating expenses — things such as city police work ("enhanced security") and maintenance items. A map shows the boundaries of the Community Redevelopment Agency. Image courtesy City of Sarasota

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