BRADENTON --Late last year, Manatee County Commissioners decided to enter into a dissolution process for both the 14th Street and South County Community Redevelopment Agencies. In turn, they chose to implement a Southwest Tax Increment Financing (SWTIF) process, an effort to bring investment to an even larger segment of southwest Manatee than initially covered by the two CRAs. On January 7 of this year, the BOCC approved the process for both.
At Tuesday's BOCC work session, Cheri Coryea, Director of Neighborhood Service, and Karen Stewart, Economic Development Division Manager, spelled it all out to commissioners and staff.
Following the January 7 vote, the Manatee County Planning Commission on February 13, recommended approval for an amendment that removes CRA language from the county's Comp Plan; and now the planned amendment is being reviewed by the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO).
On April 8, the BOCC plans to adopt a resolution dissolving the CRA Advisory Boards and repealing resolution of establishment of Advisory Boards.
On May 13, the BOCC will hold another work-session to review the new SWTIF Ordinance, and a resolution governing the remainder of funds in both CRA accounts. The $2.5 million in the South County CRA, and the $700,000 still residing in the 14th Street CRA account, will be protected and only spent within the dissolved CRA borders where they were collected.
The BOCC will hold a public hearing on June 17 for a new SWTIF Ordinance that is planned to go in effect October 1, 2014; prompting the BOCC to adopt the ordinance with a vote on July 29.
Once the new SWTIF ordinance is in place, the BOCC will terminate the CRA trust fund and terminate grant programs and repealing resolutions in August and September. If all goes according to plan, on October 1, 2014, the new SWTIF officially begins.
Citizens from both of the soon to be dissolved CRAs have expressed the need to protect their funds, for fear their reserves will be spent on other projects. Commissioner Whitmore expressed similar concerns and asked the board to get it all in writing so citizens can be reassured.
Citizens of both CRAs, fear they are going to lose the extra policing, additional street lights and sidewalks needed to continue their somewhat midstream redevelopment; the reason for creating the CRA in the first place.
Commissioners have pledged not to let that happen.
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