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HomeBusiness & CommunityCity Council Approves Motion for New CRA Trust Fund

City Council Approves Motion for New CRA Trust Fund

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On March 18, Mayor Blake Bell and the Brooksville City Council met for a regular meeting to discuss and vote on a variety of topics, including Ordinance 972. This is an ordinance of the city council of Brooksville that provides for the establishment and administration of a community redevelopment trust fund for the expanded downtown Brooksville Community Redevelopment Area (CRA). It designates the community redevelopment trust fund “as a recipient of funds pursuant to section 163.387 Florida Statutes” while providing for other aspects including enforcement and effective date, according to City Clerk Jennifer Battista.

As no one came forward for public comment and council members had nothing further to add on the matter, members of the council made a motion for approval to bring the issue to a vote. The ordinance was ultimately approved in a 5-0 roll call vote.

Community Development Director David Hainley reminded the members that they had “voted for this on the first reading” and that “it has not been altered in any way.” He continued that the city “can not intermingle the two CRA funds,” the creation of which was required as a result of addressing the expanded plan.

The Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) has a redevelopment area and improvement plan concentrated “in the downtown area.” The original affected acreage totaled 110, but the expanded area now encompasses over 100 separate parcels of land.

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The Florida Redevelopment Association recommends a plan be updated after five years, so the original 2013 framework was overdue for an update regardless. As part of the update to the arrangement, stakeholders and public members recommended the CRA increase in size. The trust fund was compulsorily created because of the growth.

To be able to establish or expand the CRA area, a study was needed to determine if the location was in compliance with Florida code. The establishment of another redevelopment trust fund, which is one of the many mandatory aspects of the expansion, must also comply with the law in the following ways:
After approval of a community redevelopment plan, a trust fund may be established for each redevelopment agency (s163.356). The capital that is allocated to and distributed into the fund is to be used for community redevelopment, and the agency may not spend or receive any of the money until the trust fund has been created. The payment of the trust must have been provided for by the governing body and the ordinance may only be adopted after the redevelopment plan has been approved.

The real question is: where is the money coming from? The CRA’s funding comes from Tax Incremental Financing, “which freezes tax amount at a fixed year and directs any increase in taxes based upon valuation or rate to a Trust Fund for those areas.” The agenda notes also state that the adoption of a second Trust Fund account will not raise taxes on the subject properties. Payment structure and other such details were further delved into in the notes and various attachments for the city council’s regular meetings.

Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch is a Graduate with Distinction, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. He's written numerous articles reporting on Florida Gators football, basketball, and soccer teams; the sports of rugby, basketball, professional baseball, hockey, and the NFL Draft. Prior to Hernando Sun he was a contributor to ESPN, Gainesville, FL and Gator Country Multimedia, Inc. in Gainesville, FL, and Stadium Gale.
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