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Nine months of work was distilled down to 90 minutes of presentation and discussion on Tuesday, April 1, during a joint meeting of the Sarasota City and County commissions. What was to have been an all-afternoon examination of the merits and demerits of the extension of a community rede- v e l o p m e n t a g e n c y (CRA) for downtown S a r a s o t a i n s t e a d b e c a m e a q u i c k i e show of "Here's the report" and "Thank you. Goodbye." At stake is more than $500 million over the next 30 years in a city-county scheme called tax increment financing. When the CRA was established in 1986, property tax revenue collected by the city and county in a defined downtown area was frozen. Anything that came in over the 1986 level (the "increment") was to be spent only in the defined area. In the interim, property values have increased more than 300 per- cent, and the CRA Sarasota County Commission Chairman Charles Hines (left) and Mayor Shannon Snyder listen to public comments on April 1. Photo by Norman Schimmel THE CITY AND COUNTY COMMISSIONS ACCEPT A COMMITTEE REPORT ON EXTENDING THE DOWNTOWN SARASOTA COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY BUT PUT OFF DECISIONS UNTIL APRIL 22 A DEBATE YET TO BEGIN When I look at the request to extend the CRA, I'm a lot less enthusiastic. What's the biggest need for it? Nora Patterson Commissioner Sarasota County By Stan Zimmerman City Editor

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