At the regular Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) meeting on November 29, 2022, County Planning Administrator Michelle Miller and Connie Green, the President of the Tax Redevelopment Advisory Committee (TRAC), presented two proposed maps of the South Brooksville Community Redevelopment Area (CRA). TRAC created one map, and Miller and her staff created another map.
The BOCC held no vote and awaits consensus from the Brooksville City council, which will hear the presentation on December 19, 2022.
Under Florida law, local governments may specify an area as a CRA if it’s determined that there are blight conditions within that area (through a formal process called a Finding of Necessity). For example, substandard structures, insufficient roadways, and lack of affordable housing are some conditions that could lead to establishing a CRA. There are around 220 CRAs in Florida.
The local government appoints five to seven individuals to the Community Redevelopment Agency. The agency administers programs offered within the CRA. They also develop the Community Redevelopment Plan that identifies projects and goals.
A funding mechanism available to a Community Redevelopment Area is Tax Incremental Financing (TIF), whereby the value of real property within the CRA is ‘frozen’ on a specific date. Any tax revenues from property value increasing over this base value goes to the CRA trust fund and are earmarked for redevelopment of the CRA. The government taxing authority receives property tax revenues based on the frozen value if property values have increased. TIF would depend on rising property values, which has been the case in recent years.
There are two CRAs within Hernando County: The City of Brooksville CRA and the Kass Circle CRA. Both CRAs utilize the TIF funding mechanism according to the state’s special district profile for each CRA.
TRAC is a subcommittee of the Pasco-Hernando State College Community Conversations Meetings, where the South Brooksville redevelopment efforts originated. The goal of TRAC is to bring more tax dollars into the community. Green said that the sum of TRAC’s goals is “to revitalize South Brooksville in hopes to offer a better quality of life.”
The original CRA boundary only included unincorporated areas outside the city limits. The new boundary maps include the City of Brooksville. The first map recommended by TRAC shows the western boundary, including US 41. However, Miller said, “In some of our initial discussions with the city itself, if we were to expand the CRA boundary this far to the west, [it] could be detrimental to the city in terms of its tax base.”
The map recommended by county staff shows the western border of the CRA of South Mildred Avenue, keeping the rest of the boundary unchanged from TRAC’s. This area keeps taxes along the commercial corridor of US 41 / Broad street within the city of Brooksville, funding city priorities. It does include some commercial tax base that would benefit the South Brooksville CRA.
Chairman John Allocco voiced some concern, “In the long run, how would that be good for the South Brooksville CRA if the City of Brooksville had a significant loss in revenues?”
Miller responded, “Once we get initial buy-in from the city and from the county, the outreach to the businesses and to the actual community will grow significantly.”
Green stated that the Brooksville City Council members have attended TRAC meetings and given their input on the boundaries; however, there was no discussion from City officials at this county board meeting.
TRAC meets on the fourth Thursday of each month. The next meeting will be at the Elks on Thursday, January 26, 2023.