During the St Augustine City Commission regular meeting, members unanimously passed a resolution opposing legislation imposing significant new restrictions, phasing out existing and prohibiting the creation of new Community Redevelopment Agencies.
Historic City News heard from Assistant City Attorney Denise May Monday night as she explained what she sees as the likely motives behind this state legislation. Phrasing her remarks by stressing that the City of St Augustine is very scrupulous in how they spend Community Redevelopment Agency funds, May acknowledged, “Some bad actors have been found to be improperly using some of their funds.”
“We believe the impetus for the proposed legislation is to allow the counties to regain ad valorem taxes lost to Community Redevelopment Agencies,” May said. “The funds lower the property tax, or cap it, for the duration of the Community Redevelopment Agency which could be up to 24 years.”
Currently, the city has two Community Redevelopment Agencies.
- Historic Area Transportation and Parking Redevelopment Area
Established more than a decade ago to fund the Visitor Center parking facility and parking solutions.
- Lincolnville Community Redevelopment Area
Established in 2013 to provide financial assistance to low-income, owner-occupied households and Emergency Assistance Programs.
Under a CRA, any property tax increases, over the base year, go into a separate fund rather than to the county taxing authorities. The city benefits from this separate fund, while the county loses that additional revenue.