The CRA is a dependent special district in which any future increases in property values are set aside in a Trust Fund to support economic development and redevelopment projects within the designated district.
Under Florida Statute Chapter 163, Part III, local governments have the ability to designate areas as Community Redevelopment Areas when certain conditions exist. To document the required conditions, the local governments must survey the proposed redevelopment area and prepare a Finding of Necessity. If the Finding of Necessity determines the required conditions of slum and blight exist, the local government may create a Community Redevelopment Agency to provide the tools needed to foster and support positive redevelopment of the targeted area. The Community Redevelopment Agency is responsible for developing and implementing the Community Redevelopment Plan or Master Plan that addresses the unique needs of the targeted area. The plan includes the overall goals for redevelopment in the area, as well as identifying the types of projects planned for the area.
Tax Increment Financing or TIF is a unique tool available to cities and counties for redevelopment activities as provided in the Master Plan. It is used to leverage public funds to promote private sector activity in the CRA. The dollar value of all real property in the Community Redevelopment Area is determined as of a fixed date, also known as the “frozen value”. Taxing Authorities continue to receive property tax revenues based on the frozen value. These frozen value revenues are available for general government purposes. Any tax revenues from increases in real property value within the CRA are deposited into the Community Redevelopment Agency Trust Fund and dedicated to specific redevelopment projects and plans within the Redevelopment Area and are not for general government purposes. The tax increment revenues can be used immediately, saved for a particular project, or can be bonded to maximize the funds available.
CRA Boards do not establish policy for the city or county, they develop and administer a Master Plan to implement that policy. The CRA acts officially as a body distinct and separate from the governing body, even when it is the same group of people. The CRA has certain powers the city or county by itself may not do, such as establish tax increment financing, and leverage local public funds with private dollars to make redevelopment happen. The CRA term is limited to 30 years, 40 years if extended, after that time all tax revenues are retained by each taxing entity that contributed to the CRA Trust Fund.